Shy and withdrawn to a crippling degree, 11-year-old Alba (the astonishing Macarena Arias) moves through life with a doe-eyed placidity. Tending to her bedridden mother and unable to connect with her more affluent classmates, Alba takes refuge in jigsaw puzzles and quiet games of imagination. But when her mother is hospitalized, the girl is remanded to her long-absent father Igor (Pablo Aguirre), an awkward, unkempt swimming instructor who's fallen on hard times. As each struggles to connect with the other, an unexpected invitation to a popular classmate's party presents Alba with a chance to come out of her shell.
Writer/director Ana Cristina Barragán's debut is already being heralded as a breakthrough for Ecuadorian cinema, and to experience the film is to leave little doubt of its importance: at once a gritty, unsentimental exploration of the casual cruelties of pre-adolescent life; and a hopeful, finely drawn portrait of a girl yet to realize her own quiet beauty.
Winner: Best First Film, Lima; Lions Film Award, Rotterdam
|Running Time:||98 minutes|
|Awards:||Best First Feature, Lima; FIPRESCI award, Toulouse Cinelatino|
|Director:||Ana Cristina Barragán|
|Producers:||Isabella Parra, Ramiro Ruiz, Konstantina Stavrianou, Rena Vougioukalou|
|Principal Cast:||Macarena Arias, Pablo Aguirre, Amaia Merino|
|Editor:||Yibrán Asuad, Juan Daniel Molero, José María Avilés|
|Screenwriter:||Ana Cristina Barragán|