Synopsis

MISERERE is about six young men who prostitute themselves for little money in Once Train Station and Plaza Miserere, a central area in the city of Buenos Aires. Structured as a chronicle of a summer day, the documentary presents the stories and inner reflections of the protagonists through voice-overs. The routines of these street sex workers show the complex and multicultural universe of Once.

MISERERE reveals an invisibilized problem: the prostitution of needy young men in Latin American cities.

 

Technical Specs

    February 2019
    74 minutos
    1920 x 1080
    25 fps
    Color
    Stereo Sound / 5.1
    Spanish with English subtitles
    Crew:
    Direction and Screenplay by: Francisco Ríos Flores
    Production by: Lucia Rey y Karina Cintia Fuentes
    Cinematography by: Juan Vollmer
Film Editing by: Jimena García Molt
    Sound Direction by: Nicolás Calderón
     
    Cast:
    Rodrigo Balsano
    Fabián Maldonado
    Rubén Elías Lavín
    Mariano Toledo
    Carlos García
    Matías Riccardi

Francisco Ríos Flores

He was born in Argentina, in 1981. He worked on commercials, documentaries, animations and feature films. He has experience in cinema education and in social  and community cinema. He directed short films that were shown in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Uruguay and Iceland. He is the writer and director of "Peach", a short film selected for more than 20 festivals and "Miserere", a full-length documentary film, Tribeca Latin America Fund 2017 finalist and 31 Rencontres of Toulouse.

Lucia Rey

She is an audiovisual producer. She has produced more than 20 cultural and educational series for Argentine and Latin American channels such as “All colours’ tales” [Cuentos de todos los colores], the first children’s series based on LGBTTI literature for children.  This year, at the Toulouse International Film Festival, she has released the documentary “Miserere.” Currently, she is working on two documentary projects selected by the Institute of Cinematography of Argentina.

Karina Cintia Fuentes

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Buenos Aires). At the moment, she is the producer of Animation Moco Studio. She was the executive producer  of “Durazno” Short Stories x of Francisco Rios Flores (2015), “Flotar” of Ana Martin (2018) and “Miserere” of Francisco Rios Flores (2019). Besides, she participated in markets and laboratories such as APALabs 2018, Ventana Sur 2018 and Chilemonos 2019.

How the documentary was made

The idea of MISERERE emerged in 2011 from a chance meeting between the director and one sex worker in Once Train Station in the center of the city of Buenos Aires. The director, who used to live near the station, was not aware of this reality that despite being visible, is ignored by most daily commuters in Once.

The research work, which lasted four years, was divided into three lines: research on content and state of the art of male sex workers, participant observation fieldwork, and dozens of qualitative audio interviews done to taxiboys. In parallel to that, the director was developing the movie’s  screenplay based on the knowledge acquired by the place and the characters. 

The research process allowed us to understand that street male prostitution was not only a invisibilized situation but also a tragic reality because the guys are daily exposed to violent situations, abuses of security forces, sexually transmitted diseases, consumption of addictive substances and risk of early death.

During the analysis process, one of our greatest experts on the subject was Néstor Perlongher, a poet, sociologist and activist of Argentine sex diversity. His book called Male prostituion, written in Brazil in the sixties, has incredible parallelisms to the reality of male sex workers in Once. The structure as well as the voice-over treatment, but especially the approach to the protagonists were decisions based on our film model “Moi, un noir” of Jean Rouch. 

In 2015, we obtained a grant from the Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales de Argentina (INCAA), which despite being small, it allowed us to make the movie. From that moment on, we started the pre-production period. We did interviews to the male sex workers of Once looking for those who told something outsanding on this reality and agreed to be part of the movie because most of them do their job in hiding and they do not want the people who surround them to learn about it. 

The shoot of MISERERE was divided into two stages. The first one was in the summer of 2016 and the second was in the same season but in 2017. Due to our limited economic resources, the editing and sound post production took us two years. At the beginning of 2019, in March, we finished post production and released the movie in the ‘Documentary Competition of Toulouse Latin Film Festival’, in France.

The distribution strategy of MISERERE comprises three lines. The first one is film festivals, focusing on festivals of sexual diversity, social cinema and human rights. The second one is premiere in commercial cinemas. The third one is the presentation of the movie in and with social or sexual diversity organizations of the City of Buenos Aires considering that they can raise awareness on this problem and promote concrete actions for the population of male sex workers who do their job in the streets of the city in a situation of high vulnerability.

The distribution strategy of MISERERE comprises three lines. The first one is film festivals, focusing on festivals of sexual diversity, social cinema and human rights. The second one is premiere in commercial cinemas. The third one is the presentation of the movie in and with social or sexual diversity organizations of the City of Buenos Aires considering that they can raise awareness on this problem and promote concrete actions for the population of male sex workers who do their job in the streets of the city in a situation of high vulnerability.

About male sex work 

In the popular consciousness, sex work is mainly linked to cisgender women and trans women, who are the most visible. In Latin America, they have formed organized groups and have fought for their rights and work conditions for a long time. In Argentina, male sex work is invisibilized and stigmatized, making most of them work in a situation of great vulnerability. Male prostitution can take place in several spaces and in different ways. Male sex workers can contact their clients in discos, websites, dating apps, in the street, etc. in Argentina, the word ‘taxiboy’ is used to refer to male sex workers. This term does not presuppose sexual orientation or gender of their clients.

In the case of street taxiboys whose reality is addressed in MISERERE, the squares and central train stations of great cities where thousands of commuters meet every day, promote the offer of the guys’ sexual services. These spaces preserve the old dynamic of the ‘Tearooms’, the historical way of having homosexual ecounters in public toilets, consolidating a space of ‘desire circulation’ and homosexual socialization.

Most of the clients of street taxiboys are single, but sometimes they hire the service of these guys to be with them and their female partners. 

Male prostitution has some points in common with cisgender female and trans prostituion, but has also several differences. For instance, despite sharing the social stigma problem on their activity, in the case of the street taxiboys, it is a double stigma because most of the guys who do this jobs are not or do not consider themselves homosexual, and to have sex with men is a mark that threatens their own construction of masculinity. The sexual service of these guys in the streets is mostly “virile prostitution”, they show exacerbated masculinity, what results atractive specially to their gay male clients. 

It is frequent that boys who live in the streets for different reasons find in sex work , whether regular or sporadic, a way to obtain some money. The value of the service of street taxiboys vary a lot, however, they are much lower than the ones offered by taxiboys in websites or discos. Occasionally, potential clients offer them drugs in exchange for their sexual services, using the fact that a large part of the guys have problems with addictive substances. 

It is also usual that clients ask taxiboys for unprotected sexual services in exchange for better remuneration. This and other risky sexual practices constantly expose sex workers to sexually transmitted diseases. 

Besides, it is frequent that street taxiboys work sporadically, for short periods of time or in interrupted periods of time. Sex work is sometimes complemented with other street work like street sales, cleaning or car care, street arts, etc. Despite the fact that the taxiboys do their jobs independently, without intermediaries, this independence does not exempt them from being constantly exposed to situations of extreme violence, whether with peers, with clients, with the police or with other people they meet in public spaces.  

Although there are no laws in Argentina that penalize autonomous sex work, in most of the provinces there are regulations, mostly local contravention codes, that enable security forces to exercise control and penalize sex workers for their job. Particularly, police harassment and persecution of male sex workers is due to issues linked to social origin, appearance, skin color because they are criminalized specially for their aspect and not for their activity.

Participó en los WIP: