Julian Yuri Rodriguez

A deconstructed adaptation of Dante's Inferno that takes place at a bath salt fueled fighting ring in Miami's underworld.

Julian Yuri Rodriguez created this film for Borscht 8.


Fantasia Film Festival, 2013


Miami International Film Festival Legal Dispute
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"[Julian Yuri Rodriguez] explores and questions what we find engaging and beautiful. The experience is seedy and brutal, with hellish yet celebratory undertones. Dizzying and visionary… this is a freakish carnival of curiosity with death and sex as the stakes" - Cool Hunting

"[Julian Yuri Rodriguez’s] violent and darkly comic imagining of an underground Miami fight club was the best thing I'd seen at Sundance and Slamdance…" - Vice


Slamdance Film Festival, 2014
San Antonio Cinefestival, 2014 (Winner, Short Film Jury)
Belfast Film Festival, 2014
New York Horror Film Festival, 2014
Glasgow Short Film Festival, 2014
New Orleans Film Festival, 2013
Key West Film Festival, 2013
Fantasia Film Festival, 2013
Toulouse Extreme Cinema Festival, 2013 (Winner, Short Film Jury Award)
Atlanta Buried Alive Festival, 2013 (Winner, Short Film Jury Award)
Incubate Netherlands, 2013
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, 2013


Hardwood: Sex and the Single "Bugarron"

by Milton Garcia

"In the middle of our life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood." - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

C#CKFIGHT is an experience, an exploration--a frighteningly forthright study of Latino masculinity that subverts our preconceived notions of what male power (Cubano power in particular) is supposed to look like.

The rooster--that ultimate symbol of proud, strutting masculinity--is widely distributed across the vast spectrum of Cuban art. From the anonymous, dignified folk paintings of the countless nameless artists that adorn our kitchen walls, to the work of confirmed greats like Mariano Rodriguez, whose work hangs in galleries and museums, the culture is saturated with images of strength, power, and resilience inherent to this creature. Case in point: it is considered a compliment in Cuban Spanish to be called "un gallo."

Yet within the context of this exceedingly patriarchal culture, where a man’s personhood and sense of self-worth are inextricably bound to outward perceptions of his virility and strength, the contradictory identity of the "bugarron" may exist within him simultaneously. There is no direct English translation for "bugarron," a concept unique to Cuba and a few other islands in the Caribbean, but broadly speaking it signifies a hyper-macho man and self-identifying heterosexual (often with a wife and family) who takes great pleasure in penetrating other men.

Like the violent diversion from which the film takes its title, Julian Yuri Rodriguez’s pulsing, primal C#CKFIGHT is a thrilling contest between the two warring opposites that exist within the "bugarron"--it is a never-ending conflict to establish the primacy of one identity over another.

The exploration of this duality begins in darkness, where we hear the sobs of a woman in the midst of great joy or extreme pain. When she appears onscreen, her tears seem to be of happiness, but before we can get our bearings Rodriguez’s camera whisks us away, down a dark alley whose walls are scored with graffitos that read "RAPEDOG" and "I Sol Tace," literally "The Sun is Silent"--the last words Dante reads before descending into his inferno.

The real-world inferno into which we descend is a terrifying sight to behold, and though the sun may be silent here, there is heat enough to Daniel Fernandez’s scorching camerawork to melt the "thin layer of ice" separating us, as Werner Herzog once said, from a roiling "ocean of chaos and darkness" below.

Plunging into the boiling water with these desperate, angry souls, into the lives of these men tethered by societal constraints and judgments, C#CKFIGHT peels back layers of reality to reveal the throbbing sexual subtext operating beneath social interactions within Cubano culture. Rodriguez positions the culminating act of public sodomy as a beautiful, even romantic experience of physical liberation and fulfillment, with the sounds of string music intensifying the pleasure of a rapt, lustful audience of hungry male spectators. These men, trapped in the rigid coffins of their forced sexual normativity, are plucked out from the throes of ecstasy by the ejaculatory gunshot that silences their collective joy and pleasure and starts the cycle of displaced erotic energy and violence all over again.

Through a dense network of complex allusions--whether it’s the odd synchronicity of Afro-Yoruba and Catholic religions, Italian epic poetry from the fourteenth century, or strained social relations between races--Rodriguez fearlessly excavates the violent psychosexual impulses writhing beneath Cubano culture. But rather than judging participants of C#CKFIGHT, Rodriguez allows them to exist on their own terms, and in turn allows the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions about masculinity, male sexuality, and individual identity based on their reaction to the film.


Borscht Corp presents


a film by Julian Yuri Rodriguez

writer/director: Julian Yuri Rodriguez
additional writer: Ariel Castro
producers: Lucas Leyva, Giancarlo Loffredo
associate producer: Arly Montes, Sasha Vaziri
cinematography: Daniel Fernandez
film editing: Diego Meza-Valdes
production design: Josue Clotaire Fleurimond
sound mixer: Cory Czajkowski
composer: John Hancock
sound design: Seripidasound
the host: Nassie Shahoulian
molly: Badara Ndiaye
santiago: Julio Nunez
molly's father: Arnaldo Yuri Rodriguez
el gringo: Tommy Groth
drug guy: Carlos Mucha
girlfriend: Patricia Hernandez
boyfriend: Leonardo Valencia
bartender: Dan Fagan
vomiting man: Alex Blandon
bath salt junkie: Carlos Mucha
bouncer: Coco Stabs
bodybuilder: Victor Lopez
bar brawlers: Juan Mederos, Enrique Alberto Galan
the crowd: Epifanio Leyva, Carlos Loffredo, Urbano Mederos, Alain Erriguible, Jean Pierre Errigible, Gianfranco Rosa, Antonio Alonson, Fareed Abedlghani, Jason Ottey, Andres Rivera, Armando Valdes, Camilo Sierra, Arturo Valbuena, Carlos Gazanini, Alejandro Alvarado, Jose Alvarado, Jose Padron, Boris Montalvo, Michael Crucet, Julian Ramon Sanchez, Alex Rodriguez, Luke Heintz, Giovanni Borace, Jose Garcia, Daniel Fagan, Raul Romero, Michael Toledo, No Emotions, Cory O'Brien, Ivan Nodal, Chris Arevalo, Richard Ralph, Khalid Afzali, Alejandro Uribe, Gregg Rivero, John Cano, Luis Portacio, Diego Genoa, Oscar Galvis, Eric Anderson, David Anasagasti, Diego Lizarzaburu, Arturo Valbuena, Victor Lopez

commissioned by Borscht Corp.

2013 Miami, FL, USA

Made possible by the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation