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Film / Quiero ser (I want to be...)

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Quiero ser (I want to be...) is a 2000 short film (35 minutes) from Mexico, directed by Florian Gallenberger.

Juan and Jorge are brothers, two homeless orphans living on the streets of Mexico City. Despite the fact that Jorge looks to be 16 or so while Juan is barely half that, it soon becomes apparent that Juan is the boss and is making the decisions, not his slow-witted, possibly mentally challenged older brother. Juan and Jorge are living a hand-to-mouth existence by singing in buses and on street corners and outside restaurants and passing around a tin can for change. The brothers have a plan, or rather Juan has a plan, to save up 100 pesos to buy a bunch of balloons, which they will sell for a profit. But that plan is endangered when Jorge becomes infatuated with a girl who bikes around their neighborhood selling snow cones.

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Tropes:

  • Age Cut: From Juan looking back at his brother as the bus zooms away, to grown-up Juan looking out the window at Jorge in the street, as the film cuts back to the Framing Device.
  • Call-Back: Juan's scheme to make some more money involved selling balloons. At the very end a child is carrying a bunch of balloons for sale; she loses them and they float up into the sky.
  • Diegetic Switch: The Mexican song that Juan and Jorge are singing goes from in-universe, as they sing at various locations, to soundtrack backing as they are shown back "home" counting their change, then back and forth throughout a montage.
  • Downer Ending: One might expect a reunion between Juan and Jorge, maybe with tears. But no. Instead, Juan pays his bill, walks right past Jorge, collects his car from the valet and drives away without saying a word to his older brother.
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  • Dramatic Sit-Down: Juan slumps to a sitting position on the sidewalk when he catches his brother in a diner and realizes that Jorge stole the 20 pesos to entertain the ice girl.
  • Framing Device: A man in his thirties who seems to be doing well for himself—he is dressed nicely and is having lunch in a nice restaurant—looks out the window and sees a homeless man singing a song, begging for change. The film cuts to the main story with young Juan and Jorge performing on a bus for change. It's obvious from the beginning that the man in the restaurant is Juan and the older man on the street is Jorge.
  • No Name Given: The snow cone girl is listed in the credits as "ice girl."
  • Secret Test of Character: Juan confronts his brother with the news that "Someone stole 20 pesos" from their tin can. Jorge, who isn't too bright and thus doesn't stop to consider why a thief would steal only 20 pesos and not the whole can, promises to catch the man who robbed him. Jorge having failed the test, an angry Juan confronts him with the truth and walks out.
  • Stealing from the Till: Jorge lifts twenty pesos from the little nest egg he and Juan have saved up, in order to entertain the snow cone girl. When Juan discovers this, he leaves his older brother forever.
  • Street Performer: Juan and Jorge sing Mexican ballads on the street and on buses, and pass around a can for change.
  • Street Urchin: How they were rendered homeless orphans is never explained, but Juan and Jorge are alone, living in an abandoned warehouse.

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