It’s an unbearably hot Santiago Christmas Eve 1986 in those pre-tech days before cellphones were invented and when families still had to talk to each other. However Borja (Cristóbal Rodríguez-Costabal) ‘s family don’t. Well not very much. He’s a precocious teenager about to turn 17 and obsessed with movies especially the stack of obscure ones on VHS tapes that he inherited from his late father a movie critic.
His chain-smoking mother Irene (Carmina Riego) has no hesitation in telling her son that he is weird, as she is too in a different way. She claims that the only ‘normal’ one in their family is Borja’s older brother Vincente ( played by his real life brother Santiago Rodríguez-Costabal.
Most of the preparation of the dinner that night is taken up with the making of Cola De Mono a a traditional Chilean eggnog drink made for the holidays. It’s the consumption of large amounts later on that will embolden the boys at least to want to start fulfilling some of their erotic fantasies.
In this family everyone, including the late father, have secrets and they are all determined to keep them to themselves but before Christmas Day dawns several will be out with dire circumstances. Maybe it’s the extreme heat or the potency of the Cola de Mono or just their sheer sexual repression but this is not a night for turning back.
This is the 6th movie from openly gay Chilean writer/director Alberto Fuguet and his first to have an LGBT theme. Impressively made on a mini budget, it’s a compelling movie mixing his very dark themes with a fair smattering of humour and a great deal of reality as probably a lot of the story is taken from his own life. Inspired casting, especially using the Rodríguez-Costabal brothers to play the brothers (and in the final part of the movie when it fast forwards to 1999 the older brother plays the adult Borja). They, and none of the cast have any inhibitions at all about the large amount of nudity that features throughout the whole movie.
There is a fair element of surprise throughout with some unpredictable plot twists, and this certainly adds to the compelling nature of this fascinating wee movie.