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“I Was Taken by the Capriciousness and Boldness of his Flirtation”: Heidi Ewing | I Carry You With Me

I Carry You With Me

Whether capturing or creating a world, the objects onscreen tell as much of a story as the people within it. Whether sourced or accidental, insert shot or background detail, what prop or piece of set decoration do you find particularly integral to your film? What story does it tell?

It’s 1995 in conservative Puebla, Mexico and we’re inside Bar Franco,  a clandestine gay watering hole located in an old mansion. Gerardo, a regular, spots a man at the bar (Iván) whom he’s not seen before. He’s intrigued. There is a quick but promising glance between them. But how to be sure the attraction is mutual?

Gerardo reaches into his bag and finds a new use for  the small laser pointer he uses  daily in the class he teaches at the local university. Obscured by a pillar, Gerardo shines the light on Iván’s chest, his arm, his neck.  Rattled by the red specks dancing all over him, Iván goes in search of the source. He soon finds Gerardo waiting for him  down a dark corridor and the connection is made…and the movie begins to crackle.

I shot this scene almost identically to the way it was told to me years ago by the real Gerardo, as he explained the first night that he met Iván. I was charmed by his innovative and ultimately successful attempt at a meet-cute that became a lifelong love. I was taken by the capriciousness and boldness of his flirtation, a move that said, “I am focused only on you. I have chosen you.” The object captured my imagination both as a director and writer and it was one of the first objects that appeared in my script.

The laser pointer appears in various forms throughout the film, as the object that started out as a lark becomes a symbol of power and commitment as the love between these two men evolves, grows, and deepens over decades.

So come see my film  “I Carry You With Me” (“Te Llevo Conmigo”) at Sundance 2020 and don’t forget to  go toward the light!

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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