April 17, 2009

Movie Review: Pedro


MTV took a break from its usual spate of crap programming on April 1 to air a surprisingly sensitive and touching movie about the life and death of Real World star Pedro Zamora. With an introduction by President Bill Clinton, who contended that Zamora gave a face to the AIDS epidemic in the early ’90s, the film follows him from his Cuban roots to making a life in Miami, where he eventually decided to try out for the fledging MTV reality show and become its first openly gay and HIV-positive roommate. Once cast, Zamora came up against adversity in the form of Puck, the gnarly bike messenger (played by a spot-on Matt Barr), but also found love with activist Sean Sasser (DaJuan Johnson). Milk Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black wrote the moving screenplay, and Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (who directed some of gay porn’s finest films before moving to the mainstream with The Fluffer and Quinceañera) produced.

First-time director Nick Oceano occasionally succumbs to TV-movie-of-the-week melodrama, but a mostly fine cast, especially Alex Loynaz as Pedro (whose only fault might be that he is too attractive, even in the deathbed sequences!) and Justina Machado (you’ll recognize her as Rico’s wife on Six Feet Under) as his devoted sister, Mily, elevates the material. There is a tenderness in the scenes they share that makes the inevitable finale all the more heart-wrenching. Pedro offers a sobering look at a young person (Zamora was diagnosed with HIV at age 17 and died in 1994 at 22) who stood up for himself in a long-ago time and place, but its safer-sex message is still frighteningly pertinent today. For more information, visit www.pedrothemovie.com.

1 comment:

Pornus Addictus said...

too painful to watch for me but i'm glad u at least give some attention to this release, may many young gays watch it and learn from it