THE MUSIC MAN
With Seán Martinfield
Cuco Gomez-Gomez Is Dead! - Francisco Lorite in
August 9, 2006
A series of gun shots has just pierced the afternoon calm. Gold
Fish the goldfish dives for cover at the bottom of her clean and
clear glass bowl. You would too - knowing what she knows, from
her vantage point and with plenty of nothing else to do but eavesdrop.
The cops will be here any moment. Down at the live-in hotel at
617 N. Orange Drive, everyone knows life ain't always a bowl of
cherries. Just ask the very handsome / well-dressed killer sprinting
up the street. In the room marked as #169 another guy (described
by the hysterical young woman - soaking next door in the bathtub
of #168 - as, "so beautiful") is on his back, stretched
across the bed. During the surprise attack and rapid flurry of
shots, even his pillows got blown to bits. A feather descends;
the quill lands straight into the well of the dead man's left
nostril. Cuco Gomez-Gomez is dead!
Beginning Friday, August 11th through Saturday the 12th, the
San Francisco International Festival of Short Films (SF Shorts)
inaugurates their start of something big. From 900 (no more than
10-minute-long) entries submitted by filmmakers around the world,
56 have been chosen including comedies, dramas, experimental films
and documentaries. The event promises to be very lively, stretching
itself out at the Roxie Cinema, the Victoria Theatre, California
College of the Arts, and Ace's Auto Wrecking Yard. I recently
seized a rare opportunity to speak to one of the entrants, Francisco
Lorite - killer actor and director, producer, writer and one-time
casting agent for Gold Fish (now deceased). His fast-paced production
of, "Cuco Gomez-Gomez Is Dead" is part of Program One,
screening this Friday afternoon at The Roxie. A native of Spain,
Francisco Lorite will be celebrating his 31st birthday on Friday
as well. I wanted to know the most important thing he could convey
to me about his experience as a novice filmmaker, specifically
to the young and promising community of Latino artists here in
the Bay Area. His immediate response was to proudly claim a particular
debt of gratitude to The City, something that has had the most
obvious and profound effect upon his career.
"I learned to speak English in San Francisco! I went to
high school in Spain and then decided to explore the U.S. It was
my first time in this country and I came to San Francisco. I went
to a language school near San Francisco State University."
"Cuco" was released in 2005 and garnered the Imagen
Award for "Best Theatrical Short or Student Film". The
Imagen Foundation was established 20 years ago, specifically to
create an Award recognizing top Latino entertainment talent. At
the 2005 (black tie) Award Show held at the Beverly Hilton 700
celebrities, influencers and supporters of the Latino entertainment
community turned out to watch Mr. Lorite and 21 others receive
their awards and to celebrate the advancements of Latino artists
over the past two decades.
(01:08) CONCHITA A. [The Hotel Super; lives in Room 110]: I could
tell you a lot of things about this hotel and the tenants in it.
I have been the Super here for six months. I am not the kind to
(01:49) ANGELA DE LA V [A Vocal Artist, lives in Room 162]: Cu-co/cua-cua-/cua-cua/cua-cua/cua-ca!
For Francisco Lorite, language is everything. It is the cornerstone
to success. He is very firm in his commitment to mastering all
manner of communication. So are the members of his Cast. They
are his friends and peers; the kind of crowd every student actor
and struggling performer has ever known or will know. They also
served as his Crew - each previously agreeing to pony-up $100
to become involved in the project in the first place and then
sweating behind the scenes out of passionate loyalty to the script
and the growing faith in their new production company: A Cool
Co-Op. All this was preceded by a spaghetti and wine dinner prepared
by Francisco himself.
(01:35) HOMELESS MAN [Lives in the basement of 617 N. Orange
Drive]: His cooking sucked!
"It starts with the script!" says the very handsome
(02:38) HOMELESS MAN: Cuco Gomez-Gomez was a very nice man, yes
he was. Yes! He was. I knew it right away the very first time
I went through his garbage.
In order to be a filmmaker you have to get what is in your head
out onto the paper. You must write about what you know and that
is not an easy task.
(05:27) CONCHITA A.: But I am not so surprised what happened
to Cuco Gomez-Gomez. Especially because of his strange relationship
with the tenant in Room 165. They tried to hide it from me. But
I think - those two were lovers. And maybe - in a fit of passion
- the other one, you know? - pow, pow, pow, pow, pow
"You can be anywhere," Francisco insists. "As
long as the story is good, it will travel."
Who knows how Francisco Lorite knows what he knows and how did
that come out in the fashioning of the script for "Cuco Gomez-Gomez
Is Dead!" - ?
(06:03) TRIPLET #1 [Translates the vehement speech of his brother,
TRIPLET #2]: My brother says, "The CIA killed Cuco Gomez-Gomez
to stop the birth of the New People's Republic of Cucuruguay."
Cuco would have wanted it that way.
(06:12) HOMELESS GUY: He would also bring me down food - very
spicy, not my cup of tea. But, at least he didn't want anything
in exchange. Not like that horny Cuban wench from 110. Brings
me left-overs. Cuco Gomez-Gomez' death was the effect. I wouldn't
be surprised if she was the cause.
(06:35) ANGELA DE LA V [Continues chanting]: Cu-co/cu-cu-/cu-cu/cu-cu/cu-co!
(07:00) GIRL IN TUB [She is hysterical, weeping]: Why did you
have to kill yourself over me? Didn't you know I was yours forever?
Why did you have to shoot yourself?
(07:15) BOXER [The tenant in 165, alleged lover of Cuco Gomez-Gomez.
His broken and bandaged nose make him barely audible except for]:
That's all I'm saying!
Francisco Lorite is now in the middle of his next project, a feature-length
film, RANDOM. Lorite describes it as, "A thinking man's revenge
film. Thanks to the success of "Cuco" and the momentum
from the awards, I'm getting the attention from the supes in Hollywood."
Lorite's inspiration for RANDOM comes from his being randomly
stabbed in Boston.
(07:40) Full head-shot of THE HUSBAND. He holds up a photo of
himself (smiling, holding a small fluffy white dog) and a woman
(also smiling, in a pearl necklace, presumably THE WIFE). Camera
pans down to his hand, he is wearing a wedding ring.
(07:46) A LITTLE BLACK GIRL points to the Hotel mailboxes. The
key-hook for Room 169 is empty.
(07:50) In the foreground, THE WOMAN from the photo. She is sitting
up in bed, smoking a cigarette; the wedding ring on her finger
is the same style as THE HUSBAND in the photo. In the background,
THE HAIRY-CHESTED MAN is resting on the bed. He appears to be
(07:52) In the hallway, shot of door #169
(07:55) CONCHITA A.: Room 165 did it.
"The stabbing made me look at life in a different way,"
Francisco says. "RANDOM is my reaction to that event. The
nurse who took care of me said - 'You can thank your angels. That
blade missed your kidneys by a hair.'"
(07:56) TRIPLET #1: I was at work.
ANGELA DE LA V: Room 110 did it.
HOMELESS GUY: Room 167.
COP: Gang related.
(08:01) BOXER barely audible]: Room 138!
Francisco's nurse suggested he might benefit from more than prayer.
"Your body was invaded" she said, "You need to
talk to somebody."
(08:20) Upward shot of GOLD FISH in her bowl. She shimmies nervously
toward the surface of the water. ANGELA continues beating her
drums. A dog is barking. The GIRL IN THE BATHTUB is crying, "Cuco,
my love!" THE HUSBAND continues down the hall. He has loosened
(08:25) Headshot of THE WIFE, sounds of heavy breathing, she
is straddling THE HAIRY-CHESTED MAN.
"I went coo-coo. Anything set me off. RANDOM has become
my basis to explore the ideas of retribution."
(08:30) THE HUSBAND places his hand on the door marked: 169.
(08:32) GOLDFISH [Her eyes are bulging]: Huh?!?
(08:33) Shot of THE HUSBAND's feet. He takes a step back, kicks
open the door, fires six bullets.
"Don't wait for the perfect piece, the perfect script. Don't
say to yourself - 'How can I make that better?'"
(08:39) Shot of THE WIFE in profile, facing left. She purses
her lips, reacting to the blasts of gunfire.
(08:42) Headshot of THE HUSBAND, in front of his face the smoking
gun points toward the camera.
(08:43) THE WIFE [Still in profile]: What was that?
"Don't wait! Just do it. Trust your voice. Trust your story."
(08:44) THE HAIRY-CHESTED MAN [Rises into the frame from the
right. He is in profile, facing left toward the noise from the
gun, next to THE WIFE]: I think it was across the hall.
(08:47) Headshot of THE HUSBAND, the smoking gun is in front
of his face, pointed toward the camera.
"Don't second guess!"
(08:53) In the background, daylight streams from the bullet holes
in the wall of Room 169. A man wearing glasses, with a neatly-trimmed
moustache, glances from left to right, a flurry of feathers falls
around him. In slow motion - the revolving blades from a ceiling
fan, the whirring sounds in half-speed. It is CUCO GOMEZ-GOMEZ.
He falls back onto the bed. He is dead.
"Don't say, 'When I have more success
(09:18) THE HUSBAND has leaned against the door of Room 169; the
numbers wiggle, they are very loose, the #9 falling into a #6
(09:32) Overhead shot of CUCO GOMEZ-GOMEZ, head on the pillow,
eyes wide open, facing the camera.
(09:38) A feather plunges into the left nostril of CUCO GOMEZ-GOMEZ.
(09:44) THE HUSBAND's eyes are wide open. He runs off.
"Say to yourself, 'This is the type of story I would pay
For tickets and locations and more information on each of the
entries to the San Francisco International Festival of Short Films,
Francisco Lorite's RANDOM should be in the can by March. He promised
me another chat.