Review: Ekaj (2015)

EKAJ is a love story between two drifters, a naive teenager and a hustler. The film capture’s the journey of a runaway in New York City. Ekaj (Jake Mestre) meets Mecca (Badd Idea)who takes him under his care. Mecca has AIDS and multiple problems of his own. He is high all day but still manages to be the only voice of reason in Ekaj’s hopeless world. They cruise the city together looking for money and places to stay. The core of the movie is Ekaj, who thinks he will become the lover of a rich man and be taken care of for life but ends up finding his dreams quickly shattered. Although he makes some money as a prostitute, he finds himself disposable, replaceable and lacking what it takes to survive in the city. Written/directed by Cati Gonzalez and produced by Cati & Mike Gonzalez

Ekaj is a hyper-realistic slice of real life; we see into the (often tragic) life of a gay street ‘hustler’ which is a character we don’t often seen portrayed as raw as this on screen. 

Stylistically and thematically the film-makers were inspired by Larry Clark’s ‘Kids’. This is less plot-driven and more of a meandering ‘day in the life’ of our main characters; although they face many hardships and tragic events along the way. The film has a mostly simplistic, almost ‘fly-on-the-wall’ type cinematography; although some more surreal-style shots are used for enhanced drama and to mimic the effects of drugs/alcohol. In this regard the film reminded me of Linklater’s rambling epic ‘Slacker’. The film rests heavily on the performances of our two leads which i found a little flat but at their best they do delve the depths of these character’s emotional and mental states.


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