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ECHO PARK L.A.

Director: RICHARD GLATZER & WASH WESTMORELAND

U.S.A. • 2006 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 90 MIN


WINNER OF BOTH THE JURY AND AUDIENCE PRIZES AT THE LAST SUNDANCE FESTIVAL, ECHO PARK LA IS A WARM-HEARTED PORTRAIT OF A TRIO OF OUTCASTS IN THE CONSERVATIVE LATIN COMMUNITY OF EAST LOS ANGELES.
The film’s original title, Quinceañera, refers to the celebration in South American culture of the passage of a young girl from childhood to adulthood as she reaches 15. Dreaming of her forthcoming quinceañera, 14 year-old Magdalena’s life is shattered when she finds out she is pregnant. Like her cousin Carlos, who has been banished from the family home on suspicion of being gay, Magdalena goes to live with their kindly old uncle Tomas. Given his freedom, Carlos starts experimenting with his sexuality, forming a threesome with the affluent gay couple who live upstairs and are Tomas’s landlords. When Carlos embarks on a secret affair with one of the gays and inadvertently drives a wedge between the couple, Tomas is served with an eviction notice and the makeshift family has to find a new place to live. The skill of the film-makers is in telling such a human story within the social and cultural context not only of the Mexican immigrant community but also of a neighbourhood which is being overtaken by rich people. Directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland have acknowledge a debt to British realist cinema of the 1960s (most obviously A Taste of Honey, another tale of a pregnant teen), and this acutely observed film represents something of a radical departure from their previous work, which includes The Fluffer (2001) and Grief (1993).

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