Rethinking Sexuality in Julia Solomonoff's LA BOYITA


By Sergio C. Muñoz for TropicalFRONT

In the summer of 2013, unknowingly, I began an educational course in the salon of Film Movement. Two of their recent releases have forced me to consider that I have a huge gap in my knowledge on sexual topics outside of the mainstream.

The first film, In the Name Of (Poland), caused me to think and re-think upon the nature of homosexuality among male priests and their young, male flock. The second film, La Boyita (Argentina), caused me to think and re-think upon the nature of gender roles among children outside of sexuality.

In La Boyita, Jorgelina is a fireball of a child with an insatiable curiosity for both nature and nurture. She is wise beyond her years because she reads her father's books on human anatomy. The material in the books best suited to a woman three times her age studying to be a physician. Jorgelina's need for attention takes her to a farm in the pampas of Argentina with her father. It is on the farm that she becomes the only one amongst an army of adults that notices that there is something wrong with the boy ranch-hand named, Mario.

Mario is tormented beyond his years but you wouldn't know it through his temperament. He is the prototypical sweet natured child with rosy cheeks and blonde hair. The world around him is rough and despite his innate nature to be soft, he excels at being the "man" that everyone on the farm is rushing him to become. His "coming out" moment looms on the horizon as he trains to ride a racehorse against a boy twice his age. It is verbalized by the adults that winning the race would cement Mario into manhood as if the back of a horse at full gallop could magically convert a boy into a man in rural Argentina.

Unfortunately, Mario's formal education leans toward horse breaking and cow slaughtering more so than it does towards an understanding of the actual person that he is despite his surroundings. He himself understands that he is different but seemingly, he does not understand how or why in scientific terms. He is bright enough to understand that his differences won't be respected among the stone-set folks that surround him on the farm.

His confirmation comes out quietly among his family just before the race. He is unjustly punished for his differences by the very person who created him to be the way he is. The horserace then begins and Mario proves his worth to all on the farm by making his first adult decision: Don't stop running.