Controversial Theme in Peruvian Andes Brokeback Mountain

What happens when a father-figure image is destroyed? This is the focus of Peruvian director Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L. in his debut film Retablo, screened in our main feature film program. A visually lavish film set in the magnificent mountain landscapes could be called a Peruvian Andes Brokeback Mountain.

Breathtaking nature, however, hides the cruelty of an intolerant community. This is what 14-year-old Segundo learns, whose his father is a respectable craftsman in a remote village, skilful in making altar paintings for churches and households, known as retablo. He passes on his skill to his son who realises that keeping the family tradition will fall on his back and he will remain in the mountains forever. Things get complicated when Segundo accidentally finds out about his father’s sexual preferences, which will force him to face the deeply religious and conservative community. Trapped in a chauvinist environment, Segundo will try to cope with what is troubling him in silence.

However, Retablo is much more than a father-son relationship story; it explores human survival in an eternal struggle between modern lifestyle and the conventional and traditional. Director Delgado-Aparicio L., a trained psychologist, masterfully examines the burden of heritage, boundaries of love and family expectations, as well as the complexity of accepting our parents the way they are. Finally, the question is raised of how to regain tolerance and acceptance.

The film won a Special Mention in Generation 14plus section and the best debut award (L’Oréal Paris Teddy Award) at this year’s Berlinale. It premiered in 2017 at the Lima International Film Festival, winning the best Peruvian film category. After excellent reviews and awards for debut film at several other festivals, Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L. is often mentioned as the name to watch. We will have a chance to meet him in person in Zagreb, and the audience will be able to ask all the delicate questions pertaining to the film after the screening in a Q&A.