The director for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe has opened up about the film breaking stereotypes.
On 8 September, the highly anticipated LGBTQIA+ coming-of-age film was released in US theatres.
Based on Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s critically acclaimed novel of the same name, the movie follows Ari (Max Pelayo) and Dante (Reese Gonzales), “two Mexican American boys on the cusp of manhood who form a life-changing bond after a chance meeting at an El Paso pool in the summer of 1987.”
Since its release, Aristotle and Dante has received universal acclaim from critics – with many lauding the film for its heartwarming screenplay, immersive cinematography and the chemistry between its lead actors.
The heartfelt film has also received praise from viewers on social media.
One fan wrote: “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a perfect adaption & a perfect movie. Aitch Alberto, Max Pelayo & Reese Gonzales bring the heart, beauty & emotions of this deeply moving and introspective story to life. I’m so in love with this movie.”
Another fan tweeted: “Saw the Aristotle and Dante movie today… sheer perfection.”
In a recent interview with PEOPLE, the director and screenwriter for the film – Aitch Alberto – opened up about making the project and how she wanted to push back against harmful stereotypes.
“I wanted to make this because it so plays against the tropes we’ve seen and the stereotypes we’ve seen. I just refuse to play into that. That’s not the work that I want to put out in the world.”
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While Alberto admitted that the film touches on difficult topics, it doesn’t “perpetuate trauma porn” like older movies that have featured POC and LGBTQIA+ characters.
“It’s time we start pushing that narrative. Redefining those things to reflect the world we live in and just give people a different option of how they can look at themselves, how parents could look at their kids,” she explained.
“This is a story about people we don’t often see on screen. This story is made by people we don’t often see behind the camera.”
Towards the end of her interview, Alberto reflected on how the film had a massive impact on her own life as a trans woman.
“[I] went through my own difficult journey while making this movie,” she explained.
She added that her personal journey allowed her to be “fully capable” of approaching the heartwarming story with a particular “lens that was rooted with love.”
“For me to be sitting in this chair is also an important moment… I refuse to let my identity hold me back form any aspect of what I want to be or who i want to be and what I want to do in the world,” she said. “I hope that that’s inspiring to folks now as well.”
As of this writing, a UK release date for LGBTQIA+ film has yet to be announced.
Check out the full trailer for the Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe below.