First films in competition for the 38th edition of the Torino Film Festival, from border Mexico to rural America, ending with Spain at the Expo and the Barcelona Olympics. Our analysis.
The 2020 edition of Turin Film Festival, as very obvious, given the pandemic underway, it is game with a Mexican film of considerable interest, capable of building a visual universe capable of going beyond the simple, and many times it represents, a wave of emigration from the rural provinces of the country to the United States, wall permitting.
Passed through Sundance, Without Particular Signs is the directorial debut of Fernanda valadez and tells of a northern Mexican woman, Magdalena, who is worried not hearing news of her son for a month, who has left to cross the border with the United States. At that point, he sets out on a journey in first person, along a desolate and desert country, like a knight-errant in a western, grappling with a journey towards a frontier that does not belong to him, that of his son, in a path along an almost reality. dystopian.
A mother looking for a child, who meets a son, Miguel, who wants to leave at all costs, also because it is the mother who wants him, having saved up for it, but who now seems to have disappeared and is looking for her, once back home. after being deported as an illegal immigrant. “If it hadn’t happened, I would never have come back, and I never sent her the money, “she says through tears and guilt., realizing that he has violated one of the commandments of those who leave: to do so by sending help to those who remain, not only in search of personal fortune.
Magdalena and Miguel, who seem to be able to recreate, in an ideal world, a minimum family nucleus, but Mexico as told by Fernanda Valadez is a repulsive reality, populated by ghosts in the desert, with very few encounters, in which the two protagonists. moreover, they certainly do not find empathy. A reality that becomes more and more gloomy, nocturnal, in which decidedly uncomfortable answers begin to arrive, outlining a gray and sick world, without the possibility of distinguishing between attackers and victims.
The wall is hardly visible, but it is always present there, it looms, in a film that gives us a different point of view on the reality of migrants along the Rio Grande, in which the two protagonists pay the consequences of other people’s choices, undergoing the presence of that border as a destiny that is impossible to escape. A bit programmatic ending, but Sin Señas Particulares is a debut to applaud and it’s worth noting the name of Fernanda valadez.
Always in competition and always of origin Sundance, we move to another rural reality in crisis, but we are in the United States, in the Appalachian Mountains, in an area known as the rust belt, rusted like the now abandoned remains of mines and extractive industries, which were once in the center of the economics of states such as West Virginia and some Ohio and Kentucky counties. We are on the side of whites in crisis told by Ron Howard, and first by the writer JD Vance, in American Elegy, in the areas that in 2016 turned to Trump to look for a secret recipe for social as well as economic recovery.
The Evening Hour, in turn born as a novel, is the portrait of a village in decay, in which the young Cole tries to get by, dividing himself between an internship as a nurse, the sincere desire to help the many elderly in difficulty, grandmother in first person, and the drug dealing that allows him to do so. The country is populated by his old friends who are now toxic or petty criminals, while Cole carries on a relationship with the ex of one of these, Charlotte, in turn addicted, surprisingly interpreted, and a little out of context, by the British franc Stacy Martin. Everyone has a past, no one seems to have a future, so much so that it’s natural to cheer for Cole, so that at least he can make it. A predictable drama in a now inextricable labyrinth, The Evening Hour is a typical indie film from the Sundance Film Festival laboratory, without formal aestheticizations, but with a certain visual flatness that accompanies us along a path already written.
To conclude the first day of the competition Torino 38, Girls, a delicate Spanish film ennobled by a great performance by the newcomer Andrea Fandos, an educational look on puberty and on approaching adolescence, amidst doubts, insecurities and a great desire for answers to a thousand questions. We are in the early 90s in Zaragoza, where Celia, a sweet 11-year-old girl, attends a Catholic boarding school and lives alone with her mother, who is very busy, cleaning and often working even at night.
First work by Pilar Palomero, Las Niñas shows us the first moment in which Celia’s candor collides with a world in which adults do not always implement what they preach, and they demand from the little ones. White lies, and not only, are not lacking, while the young woman begins to confront herself with her friends and schoolmates, asking herself questions about her family and the many silences that surround her. Everything comes from the arrival in the classroom of a companion who comes from Barcelona, outside their bubble, and brings with her the first pleasures, more or less malicious, from music to clothes, from make-up to the first curiosities towards males, so alien to her everyday life as a schoolgirl in an all-female class.
Sensitive and very careful to stay at Celia’s height, the film is pleasant and perfect for a non-didactic vision, but of pure and healthy sharing, with daughters or grandchildren.