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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sundance contender ‘Gun Hill Road’ comes to Gallagher Theater tonight


    In modern cinema, movies where sexual orientation, family tradition and cultural boundaries intersect are few and far between. But just such a film premiered to positive critical reaction at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, and now that film is coming to the UA.

    In the 2011 film “Gun Hill Road,” named after the major avenue that cuts through the Bronx neighborhood of New York City, culture meets change when an ex-convict, played by Esai Morales, returns to his home after a lengthy prison sentence to find his wife emotionally involved with another man and his child, played by Harmony Santana, whom he thought was a son, undergoing a gender transition.

    This altered version of his family leaves Morales’ character struggling to come to terms with his transgender daughter’s choices and his wife’s infidelity, while trying to remain both a husband and a father in the eyes of his parole officer.

    The film explores the sometimes unyielding ideals of Latino machismo, which holds masculinity above all else. The concept is intrinsic in Morales’ character, as is evident in his seedy past and his inability to cope with his child’s transformation.

    But Santana is the film’s true star. While “Gun Hill Road” centers around Morales’ character and his struggle to come to terms with how life went on without him, it’s Santana’s backstory that’s most worth focusing on.

    As a transgender actress who plays a young transgender woman transitioning in the film, Santana portrays the most multi-dimensional character in “Gun Hill Road.” Her performance has garnered her national attention and accolades.

    Presented by the ASUA Pride Alliance, the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, Campus Health Services, the LGBT Studies Institute and the Dean of Students Office, “Gun Hill Road” will play at the Gallagher Theater on Friday. After the free screening, director Rashaad Ernesto Green will be on hand for a question and answer session.

    Juan Pereyra, the graduate assistant intern coordinator with the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, helped to bring the film, and Green, to Tucson. “It’s an event I’ve been wanting to do for some time,” he said. “It brings different aspects of life together to have a discussion about it.”

    But as important as the discussion about the film is, what’s most valuable of all is what the viewer takes away from “Gun Hill Road.”

    “A big part of the movie is developing family relationships and the conflicts between parent and child,” Pereyra explained. “[The film] resonates with college students, as we’re still trying to help our parents to understand our lives right now.”

    If you’re looking to broaden your horizons and gain insight into the intersection between tradition, culture and sexual revolution, it’s worth spending your Friday night at Gallagher Theater.

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