Pop Films, France
Release: 3rd October 2013 (France)
DIR Michel Franco
PROD Marco Polo Constandse, Michael Franco, Alexis Fridman, Fernando Rovzar
SCR Michel Franco
DP Chuy Chávez
CAST Tessa Ia, Gonzalo Vega Jr., Tamara Yazbek, Hernán Mendoza
After Lucia, at first, may seem lazy, there’s not a lot happening. However, this is the exact mood that director Michel Franco wanted to create because when the tension does arise, it does so with piercing consequences.
Though disturbing at times, this film is a rather beautiful picture of a father and daughter in quiet lament. It is touching on more than one level. One feels a real tangible anger towards the bullies, a great sympathy for the girl and ultimately mixed feelings about the father. The screenplay is by no means complex, but its unforgiving veracity gives it a deep humane aspect that couldn’t be more intense and stimulating.
The film follows teenager Alejandra and her father, a well-regarded chef, as they move to a new town. Alejandra settles in quickly to her new school, but she is foremost concerned with her Fathers health and maintaining their adorable relationship. However, one night, she lets herself slide and falls into a trap that takes a turn for the worse. Marginal highs and lows of human sentiment are at the core of this film in creating its vivid humanistic approach.
The extent of high school bullying and despair on show seems implausible. However, not for one minute, did I think of the acts as improbable due to Franco’s evident control over his craft and the harrowingly good performances by Tessa la and Herman Mendoza.
The cinematography is concentrated and minimalistic throughout. This style helps to lay bare the realities and not over complicate the on-screen presence. You find your eyes darting across the picture and picking out different elements of conversation and mise-en-scene as the camera looms on. However, this method of still cinematography is essentially entrapment for the viewer, like Alejandra herself.
There are unanswered questions, but, in my opinion, the film conveys all it needs too, in this case less is more. The panache of the film is consistent throughout and it ends acutely on this high.
Watch the trailer below: