This review has been reposted due to its 2013 theatrical release in Chile, originally published in 2012.
(Chile, Netherlands 2012 94m) MoviePlanet Valdivia
p Benjamín Domenech, Gregorio González, Ely Fenner, Stienette Bosklopper, Carmen Couve, Luis Domenech, Macarena López, Laura Oesterheld d/w Dominga Sotomayor Castillo c Bárbara Álvarez ed Danielle Fillios, Catalina Marín Duarte
a Santi Ahumada, Emiliano Freifeld, Paola Giannini, Francisco Pérez-Bannen, Jorge Becker, Axel Dupré, Francisca Castillo, Belén Celedón, Ana López
It’s not that usual for me to feel certain proud of the career that I’ve chosen nor the place where I’ve studied, but then comes this movie. Chilean films have made rounds in international film festivals for quite a while but it’s not until the past few years that they’ve actually started to win certain prizes, films like ‘La nana’ (2009) or ‘Joven y alocada’ (2012) have won prizes in Sundance, while this particular film won best feature at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and that it’s something you don’t hear everyday, and then there’s the fact that the director came out from your same university is a plus, of course, and when you kinda knew her, it’s even more interesting and encouraging, and when you finally have the chance to see it (au contraire to what happened with the before mentioned ‘Joven y alocada’ (2012) ) and you think it’s actually pretty good, it’s like… what else could you ask for? You have some hope not only for yourself, but for the rest of the chilean industry and above all for the people you studied with, at least you have some work assured for a while, at least as key grip or something, but I digress, the thing is that the film could’ve been a disaster, but it’s actually a heartwarming experience, one of those to treasure among the moments of the Valdivia Film Festival, one that connects in an emotional level with the experiences of many of the people who saw it in that dark cinema, one experience topped by the presence of the director herself, who seemed to be very happy to finally be showing her film in Chile and in one of the most important festivals of South America.
One of the most important presences of the film was the also present after the screening Santi Ahumada, a very very young actress (she must be no more than 12 years old) and she shines as 6 years ago Abigail Breslin shined in the similary themed ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (2006), about a travel where the central character is a young girl that tries to understand the world around her and specially the relationship between her parents. In the case of this chilean film, the drama is the main driving force, the relationship between the characters what makes the movie move forward and the acting what makes it so thrilling and real. The script and story overall is like the perfect experiment and recipe for success and overall assimilation from the audience, because the thing is that most of us can say that they’ve had some sort of family vacation/travel where there’s been some fights and dissapointments, specially when you are a kid, those are the moments in which you start to realize how the adult emotions and thought process actually work: the decissions made during the travel, the turns, the fights, the games, anything that is made on the car is a sign of what it is like to be a grown up adult with responsabilities, and even if you are a kid and do nothing but just heighten the tension present inside the car and the already boiling discussion among your parents, you can’t help but feel (specially in those silent moments of the travel) that you are learning something, maybe not something good, but just a repetition of a certain ritual, a sick and rotten ritual that shall be silently and unavoidably to the next generations over and over again.
It is clear from the start of the film that the relationship between mother and father is not the same, they are splitting and we’re not sure what exactly caused it nor if the kids (the girl protagonist and her little brother) know what’s going on. The trip is, as the title of the film suggest, Thursday Till Sunday, and covers many experiences and types of vacations: camping, swimming, fishing, walking the dessert, knowing old family places, etc. Those moments are shot brilliantly and with a certain eye for cinematography and framing that is something that can be confirmed as a staple of my university. It is clear from the first long shot of the film (still, mysterious, framed perfectly and portraying the whole action and dialogue without fireworks) that this is a film from a student that came out of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and from its film school, there’s something of an influence from all the teachers and theorics that try to hammer in the economy of the shot, how it should be made in the less amount of shots possible, how editing should be an art in itself and how the image should always look pristine, as it was just lift from the real world and put before our eyes. Sometimes, of course, this doesn’t work, and sometimes the style can be tiring, and I think that the main problem of the film is that it deflates when the style can’t go on with the twists and turns that the movie could’ve made, and I think that a visual or theorical restriction is interesting, but when your script (personal and highly relatable) suffers, you should reconsider even going on with the production at hand.