1984. In a desert mining town, 12-year-old Lidia is raised by her 23-year-old brother Alexo. Every day, they are visited by Alexo’s 37-year-old boyfriend Flamingo, a cheerful transvestite. They share their time together in the lagoon and in The Cage, a canteen where Flamingo and other transvestites live under the care of Boa, owner of the place and their putative mother. Lidia’s world starts to break down after she and Alexo find out about Flamingo’s death, affected by a mysterious disease. Men in town are terrified of this plague that is rumored to be transmitted when a man falls in love with another through his gaze. Alexo is suspected to have the disease and is forced to be along the transvestites in town. To save her brother, Lidia is fighting back ignorance and homophobia and dismantles the rumour, encouraged by fantastic manifestations of Flamingo’s soul. Alexo’s life is approaching its end. The two siblings understand it is time to say goodbye, so Alexo can reencounter Flamingo and Lidia can start a new life.
I have always liked to create analogies between a familiar fictional world and contingent themes of modern society. In this case, being myself homosexual, I think that showing the town’s paranoia and the suffering that weighs on the siblings is also telling what is happening today in Chile, and Latin America, with sexually transmitted diseases and homophobia. Especially revealing how HIV/AIDS is treated, how we perceive them and how we turn them into a taboo to fear them. According to Alejandro Afani, director of the Chilean HIV Center: “These figures show that HIV/AIDS is completely out of control and that as a country we have hit rock bottom. These numbers indicate that there are at least 40.000 infected people who do not know they are.”
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