Candidato 34 Image

Candidato 34

By Jason Delgado | April 11, 2022

We’ve all probably felt like an outcast at one point or another, but usually only for awkward moments or time periods in our lives. The Ramones were in-tune with that kind of lonely feeling, with lyrics such as, “I’m an outsider, outside of everything.” What does it feel like to be a true outsider for your entire life? Bryan Russell, the subject of director Ryan Marley’s Candidato 34, knows exactly what it feels like to be treated differently his entire life because of Down syndrome. In fact, he has a moving speech about it in the documentary.

Russell is running for Congress in Peru, which is notable because he’s the first candidate ever in the world to run for public office with Down syndrome. He is also the first person with Down syndrome to graduate from a university in Peru. Russell doesn’t let his disability get in the way; it’s more of a badge of honor to him. His story is truly inspirational and remarkable because it shows that we can do anything if we put in hard work and determination. There are multiple occasions on the campaign trail where you can tell that Russell is exhausted, but he pushes through to get out his message of hope to the Peruvian people.

“…the first candidate ever in the world to run for public office with Down syndrome.”

Marley features some beautiful shots of Peru throughout this documentary short. He juxtaposes this beauty with sad images of people living in squalor), but Russell’s spirit is what gives the whole thing life. You can tell by the would-be politician’s interactions that he strikes an emotional chord with people on the street that “normal” folks never could. Russell’s authenticity and honesty are so refreshing to see in the political realm, where corruption and dishonesty are the norms in general.

It’s great to see Candidato 34 putting a spotlight on a real-life Rocky in Bryan Russell. I only wish the filmmakers could have followed him around for longer.

Candidato 34 (2022)

Directed: Ryan Marley

Written: Paul-Michael Boynett, Nick Hector

Starring: Bryan Russell, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Candidato 34 Image


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