Rodrigo Bellott was only 25 when he directed this movie, his first full length feature (his only previous film is a 10-minute short titled "Sexo"). If this is any indication, then here is a director to watch out for.
The first Bolivian movie to be shot in Bolivia since 1997, the movie is shot almost entirely in split screen format, which sometimes show different events and at other times show the same incident from varying perspectives.
The story follows the very different first sexual experiences of four individuals, two young women and two young men, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and in Ithica, New York. The narratives run parallely and switch back and forth between the two countries. An attractive young girl from the slums of Santa Cruz is seduced by a rich teenager on a night out to "bury the snake" with his buddies. A boy from Colombia visiting his cousins is forced to go into a bordello by those he is hanging out with so that he can become a man. An African-American student is gang-raped by a group of drunk guys in a deserted parking lot. One of their buddies tries to intervene and later helplessly looks on ... he is gay but is forced to play it straight due to the possible consequences of coming out. Alongside are explored issues like how a Bolivian student is expected to conform in a small American college town (the girl at the front desk of the dorm is even annoyed at the way he spells his name) and the extreme poverty of Bolivia, the poorest Latin American nation (pretty looks can be the way out of poverty for a girl here, but becoming pregnant will end these hopes right then).
The cast consists mostly of non-professionals who do a terrific job. Kudos to the members of the Ithica College football team. Matt Guida (as Tyler, the gay billboard hero), Ronica Reddick (as Adinah, the young black woman who is raped), Roberto Urbina and Antonio Saavendra (two of the Bolivian characters) are brilliant. Tyler's dilemmas are depicted beautifully ... from sidelong glances at his friends in the locker room after working out to knocking down booze with them at night and from being the blonde muscled underwear model posing with two nymphs to hesitantly going to the college's rainbow gathering, sighing, shaking his head and turning around. Adinah's monologue in front of the mirror about how she became the woman she now was and how reality changed due to the horrors of a single night is almost hypnotic ... it is one of the most powerful moments of the movie. Equally powerful are the portrayals of the pressures of the Bolivian culture of machismo on those who are more sensitive than the others.
Sexual Dependency is a movie that deals with the realities of one of the richest countries in the world and those of one of the poorest in the hemisphere with equal ease. It aims to shock the audience and it does. Movies that are so refreshingly candid are only made once in a while. See it and it will surely affect you.