Los Fuertes (The Strong Ones)

Aug 12 to Aug 22, 2021


Architecture student Lucas arrives in the Southern Chilean town of Neibla to visit his sister before his move to Montreal on a post-graduate scholarship. He spends his first days in Chile sketching colonial forts and wandering through the foggy fishing village. One day, his eye is caught by Antonio, a young fisherman who is playing a soldier in a re-enactment of the Chilean War of Independence on the grounds of one of the forts. The attraction is instant, and an affair begins to gently unfold.

This is Chilean director Omar Zuniga’s first feature film, inspired by his short film San Cristobal, which won the Teddy for best short at the 2015 Berlinale. Antonio and Lucas are two people pulled together by undeniable chemistry and connection. And though they are from different class backgrounds and have different dreams, they are both contending with a push and pull that many young people face at the end of their twenties: the risk of the future and the comfort of the present.

Much is revealed through subtlety; Zuniga frames his protagonists delicately and romantically, perfectly capturing the curiosity, euphoria, and heartache of an evolving love affair. Through passing dialogue and body language, we come to understand the landscape for queer people in Chile, and how it affects Lucas and Antonio’s relationship with their families and communities. But the sociopolitical and familial tensions are a quiet backdrop in this intense love story. The deeper conflict is with time and within our protagonists. As the days pass and the present begins to contract, moving ever closer to their futures, Lucas and Antonio face a bitter choice between young love and their own dreams.