TrueIndie Tuesday Movie Review: "Ekaj"
Life in the streets is tough. It’s a logical notion, but those who haven’t lived that life may not understand what “tough” really means.
For Ekaj in the film by the same name directed by Cati Gonzalez, it means struggling with substance abuse, self-worth, and identity as he clings to a new companionship. Mecca, a heavily tattooed and eccentric homeless man, becomes an emotional support for Ekaj as they both navigate their promiscuous and unstable lifestyles.
It’s the chemistry between these two characters, Badd Idea playing Mecca and Jake Mestre leading as Ekaj, that helps make the film feel real; their interactions and back and forth banter furnish Ekaj with its most memorable scenes.
But as entertaining as Ekaj and Mecca are together, this is a film that puts a harsh yet necessary spotlight on urban youth homelessness and the struggles of some within the LGBTQ community. It speaks to a reality many of us have never experienced. Where drugs, prostitution, and tolerance of abuse are all a means of survival, and where AIDS is a constantly looming threat.
However, the film's micro-budget is distractingly evident in the filming style. Being honest, Ekaj is not a polished production. But a sincere passion is infused in the telling of this story, and for those who can watch it living beside these characters rather than just sitting in front of them, the “tough” life on the streets can become easier to understand.