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In collaboration with Outsider Pictures, The Civic Theatre presents José by Li Cheng. By renting this movie online, you are supporting independent cinema and helping us get through this difficult time. The distributor will be sharing revenue directly with The Civic Theatre. Our doors are closed but we insist that your imaginations remain open. Thank you for keeping the art of cinema alive!

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IMPORTANT NOTE: The link above will take you through to Vimeo On Demand. Rent this film directly through this special link that’s been created for The Civic Theatre.


JOSÉ takes a sensitive yet clear-eyed look at a young man exploring his sexuality in a fraught cultural environment. Jose (19 years old) lives with his Mother (50s) in Guatemala City – a typical lower-class existence in one of the world’s most dangerous, religious, impoverished and socially conservative countries. She never had a husband, and Jose is her youngest and favorite child of five. Her life is her church and selling sandwiches at a bus stop. Jose spends his days on cramped buses and fighting traffic as he runs food to waiting drivers. Aloof and resigned to things as they are, he fills his free moments playing with his phone and random sex arranged on street corners and dating apps. When he meets Luis, a migrant from the rural Caribbean coast, they pursue an unexpected and forbidden relationship and Jose is thrust into passion and pain and self-reflection that was previously unimaginable.

Awards and Festivals

Winner of the Queer Lion at Venice Film Festival and Best Film at Boston LGBT Film Festival, among others; and selection of Miami Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, El Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (Havana, Cuba), Outfest Los Angeles, Hong Kong International Film Festival, and many more.

“Beautiful…stars the excellent Enrique Salanic.”-The New York Times

“With every kiss on the neck or touch of the hand, Cheng inserts muted sensuality to the love story.” – The Wrap

“A near-perfectly-observed character study with a vivid and novel sense of place.”- Roger Moore Movie Nation

“While the film’s characters are all realized by finely tuned performances, special mention must be made of Salanic for his complex and truly superb work as José.”-

“A touching debut…sexually frank in an honest, fresh fashion.”- Screen Daily

“Raw and authentic.” – Remezcla


Country Guatemala
Genre Drama
Duration 1h 25m