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I Am Happiness On Earth

May 15, 2017

The film follows Emiliano (Hugo Catalán), a young Mexican film-maker, as he forms a relationship with one of the dancers featured in his film. However, with Emiliano not being completely satisfied by the young man, he soon turns to other men who he hopes will fulfil his needs.

It begins by suggesting that Octavio may be the main character, but he disappears for a long stretch while Emiliano films a sexual encounter of two men and a woman. This film-within-a-film seems interminable and has only a marginal connection to the main characters. Emiliano also takes up with a hustler before reconnecting briefly with Octavio at the end. During all these scenes, it’s hard to feel anything for the self-absorbed Emiliano, and the other characters appear too infrequently to register strongly.

Insomnia-ridden Emiliano begins mixing up his sexual encounters with hunky hustler Jazen (Emilio von Sternerfels) with whatever his artistic mind is elaborating. He’s a tormented soul, wandering between the easy urges of lust and the need for love. The only thing that seems to bring him comfort and balance is a song he’s obsessed with that recurs in his life and to which he starts singing along every time it pops up on TV. He listens to a song on a loop: one of those songs you sing or repeat as a prayer and forcing you to remember, believe and convince yourself.

They don’t understand art house films,” the subtitle reads. “There are no dialogues, and the movie is really long.”

I got confused with all the other characters who appear too infrequently.

Like the title, the story is filled with misdirections: It develops in its own interest-challenging manner, with a protagonist who isn’t clear until late in the film. It’s not the boyish (and very good) dancer we first meet, Octavio (Alan Ramírez), nor is it the sensitive hustler, Jazen (Emilio von Sternenfels), who comes into play later. It’s the brooding film director, Emiliano (Hugo Catalán), who beds them both, joylessly. Without much signal of what’s happened — yet another misdirection — “I Am Happiness” turns its focus midway to three new characters who may be part of Emiliano’s rather pornographic work.

If only I Am Happiness on Earth were less in love with the physicality of its actors and more seduced by the complexity of its characters.

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From → Film, Sexuality

  1. Brandon Allen permalink

    I have more like a question okay I have tried and looked and looked and tried to find the name of the song that was played at 14:00 – 16:00 of the movie I Am Happiness On Earth and I was wondering can you help me out by sending me name of the song and who it was sung by please

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