A Thousand Clouds of Peace

Director: Julián Hernández
Screenwriters: Julián Hernández

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


A young man wanders the streets looking for love. There you have most of the plot of Julián Hernández's masterful debut feature. But what a rich cinematic journey this is!

Gerardo longs for love and connection. On the streets of Mexico City, and in a pool hall in the city center, he precipitates or participates in sexual liaisons with other men. These are impassioned but isolating encounters characterized (and for Gerardo, tarnished) by offers of money and dubious promises to call again. When one man seems to offer a deeper connection but then sends a feeble and apologetic letter of good-bye, Gerardo embarks on a plaintive search for his elusive lover.

From this foundation, the film conjures a heady dreamscape. While conveying the literal story of Gerardo's search, the film surges at a deeper level with a cyclical rhythm of hopefulness and pain, posing another enigma: Do we ever find the love we seek? Hernández masterfully intertwines these narrative strains, taking us deeper inside Gerardo as he traverses a remarkably mute and vacant Mexico City. Delicate camerawork that alternately embraces Gerardo or abandons him to soft focus, exquisite black-and-white cinematography, and a magnificently restrained performance by Juan Carlos Ortuño combine to create an indelible impression of passion and longing.

— Shannon Kelley

Screening Details

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