“I Carry You With Me”: a bittersweet film about gay love, immigration and the American dream

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Photo: “I carry you with me” / Sony Pictures Classics

i carry you with me‘, director Heidi ewing new film, is a masterpiece on the fragments of moments that shape us. Time and space are constantly changing, as are the feelings and attitudes in this film. It is also a testament to true love and how that love can burn within us even decades later. Part a romantic love story, part an immigration story and part a story of change, “I Carry You With Me” is a heartbreaking beautiful film.

A feeling of longing and loss

Perhaps the most beautiful part of ‘I Carry You With Me’ is its cinematography. As Ewing stated in his interview with The academy, she tends to use a voyeuristic approach. We look around the walls to watch Gerardo and Iván speak, making us feel as though we are as secret as they need to be. that of Juan Pablo Ramirez the camera rarely interacts with them and instead follows them from place to place. When they’re in a gay bar, we feel the same anxiety and claustrophobia that Iván feels when he looks around. People collide with the camera like we’re just spectators. It’s as if we are characters in the movie, rubbing shoulders with everyone.

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Ramírez’s camera is almost always portable. He goes up and down and is pushed around by other characters, like it’s our own point of view. He also rarely dwells on anything, which makes the times when he lingers even more powerful. In one scene we see a really close up of Gerardo’s lips as he speaks, then we cut to see Iván looking at him. It’s an intimate film, especially because you have the impression of interfering in such intimate moments.

At the same time, it’s almost a dizzying feeling to fall in love like Gerardo and Iván. We see them talking about the reality of their situation as gay lovers, as well as their hopes and aspirations. It’s almost like we’re the third member of this relationship, as we cry and laugh with them. “I carry you with me” shines in the smallest moments, where we better understand how important these men are to each other. We’re with them in the darkest times, which only makes the distance between the two even harder to swallow. When Ivan finally leaves Mexico, it’s like we’re left behind, just like Gerardo.

Ewing’s unique production style

Director and co-writer Heidi Ewing approached this film with a very unique mindset. “I Carry You With Me” was her first narrative feature; in the past she has only done documentaries, and her non-fiction style combines with fiction to create a heartfelt story rooted in reality. Ivan’s world (Armando espitia) and Gérard (Christian Vazquez) is rich with life and full of little details that make it their own. They all had an impact on their city in one way or another. They both have assets to keep them in Mexico, Iván has a son, while Gerardo, a schoolteacher, has his job and his career to worry about.


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One of the greatest strengths of this film is Ewing’s ability to show how difficult immigration is and the various reasons one can immigrate. There is more than just an economic benefit, it is often a matter of life and death. There is so much detail in the story that it feels more like a documentary, the characters are so fleshed out and so alive that it’s like we’re watching a story happen in real time.

Most of this effect is due to the direction of Ewing and his cinematographer Juan Pablo Rlove. The two agreed not to use blocking, or put marks that the actors land on, on the set. During the rehearsal, they landed the actors in certain places, but Ewing mostly asked Ramírez to follow Iván and Gerardo with the camera and that’s it. Actors were also often asked to improvise, and every last shot was completely improvised. In an interview with The academy, Espitia explained how Ewing would like them to do something different with each take.

It taught them to live in the moment and focus more on what their character wanted than what the director wanted. Ewing also confessed that most of the final shots, which were always improvised, were the ones she often ended up using for the film. Because of this, the movie felt more real and relaxed. The moments between Gerardo and Iván seemed more natural and the two actors had excellent chemistry with each other. With a journey so different from that of most filmmakers, Ewing has been able to pull some unique performances from his actors.

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The reality in “I’ll take you with me”

“I Carry You With Me” reproduces Ewing’s iconic aesthetic, especially since it is based on reality. The story itself is based on two of Ewing’s friends, although some details have been amalgamated for narrative purposes. Gerardo and Iván are both aware of their status as gay men in Mexico, but Ivan wants to flee to America to become a chef. The two argue about it, especially since Gerardo is content to live where he is, and eventually, Iván runs away with his friend.

At this point in the film, the mood changes. The film goes from a melodrama to a Thriller in French as Iván crosses the border and heads for America. This is an interesting way to do justice to the difficulty immigrate is, mostly illegally. The film tackles these difficult questions well and weighs the pros and cons of immigration for Iván. In Mexico he is hated for who he is, but if he were found in America he would be persecuted for his immigration. It’s a losing situation, but he pursues his dreams in order to provide for his young son. As soon as Iván and his friend arrive in New York, we move into the future where Iván’s son grew up. Iván realized his dream of becoming a chef, but at what cost?

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After leaving Mexico twenty years ago, he finally reunites with Gerardo. They’re both vastly different now, they’re not the bright-eyed young adults they used to be. Iván rose through the ranks, but left behind his family and his lover. Time has driven a wedge between them and they have both changed dramatically. There was always too much between them, even though their love for each other brought them closer. After twenty years, they no longer know each other, figuratively and metaphorically. In the end, “I Carry You With Me” ends on a bittersweet but truthful note, on the sacrifices we make in love and in life to make our own dreams come true.

“I Carry You With Me” is available in select theaters from June 25.

Distribution: Armando Espitia, Christian Vazquez and Michelle rodriguez

Director: Heidi Ewing

Writers: Heidi Ewing and Alain Page

Director of Photography: Juan Pablo Rlove

Through Jordan Qin

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