This Mexican production examines the life and work of James Anado McLauchlin, an American ex-pat living in the town of San Miguel de Allende. Settling there with his partner James Schultz nearly twenty years ago, Anado has developed an artistic colony around his home in the countryside outside San Miguel.
Directed by Julio Zapata, this feature consists of interviews with Anado and James as well as with people from both his present and his past. The camera also follows Anado around as he makes are with his assistants, hosts hippy-like festivals and walks around his home, which is an art-work in itself.
Through the lens with which we are introduced to this charming and eccentric man, we catch a glimpse of many things: life as a gay young man in Oklahoma in the 60s; the change of life as that young man moves to San Francisco; the horrors of the AIDS epidemic; the differences between the art scene in Mexico and that in California. If anything, this documentary tries to present us with too much, thereby losing a spine. It was difficult to know exactly what I was supposed to take-away from this. Although every scene is fairly interesting in itself, I was left with a sense of “so what?”. It is also difficult to put aside the fact that Anado is still rather childish: for instance, he still refers to the great con-artist Bagwan as “a truly enlightened being.” One would have thought that by his age, he would have seen through that garbage.
However, despite these shortcomings, this is still an enormously enjoyable hour and a half in the cinema, and well worth checking out. Maybe I’m just a crusty old cynic, and others will get more from this than I did!
The Guy From Oklahoma screens as part of the APIA Young at Heart Film Festival.
Check out session times here.