Li Cheng

Young José’s life changes overnight when he meets the love of his life: Luis, a migrant from the Caribbean. José falls in love at first sight, and the two become a couple. This could have been a simple love story, were it not for the fact that José and Luis live in Guatemala, a country where homosexuality is still a big taboo. Beautiful, intimate portrait of a young adult searching for his identity and his place in society.

José (19) lives a fine life in one of the backstreet neighbourhoods of Guatemala City. He and his mother love each other dearly, and he has managed to keep his homosexuality well-hidden. He is not in a relationship; instead, he meets men anonymously in cheap hotels in the city. But then he meets Luis and is suddenly confronted with who he is and who he wants to be. Pursuing a love relationship with a man is a big step for José. And he lives in Guatemala, a country where 59 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, where crime figures are high and where homosexuality is far from socially acceptable.

Filmmaker Li Cheng wrote his script for José based on hundreds of interviews conducted in twelve countries in Central and South America. Filmed in a neo-realist style with a cast of non-professional actors, he portrays an understated and extraordinary story of the search for identity in a conservative society.


Li Cheng
Country of production
85 minutes
Spoken language
World Sales