By Sean Boelman
Every year, the Miami Film Festival showcases some of the most exciting films from around the world, with a particular focus on Ibero-American films and stories. Truly representative of the multiculturalism of the South Florida community, the festival’s lineup always features fantastic films from Latin American countries that audiences may not have gotten the opportunity to discover elsewhere.
For the second year in a row, the Miami Film Festival is offering a hybrid edition, with boh in-person and virtual offerings. We at disappointment media will be covering the festival to tell you about some of the best films in the lineup, many of which can be screened across the Sunshine State. Here are some of our brief thoughts on some of the films we have been able to see.
Simón Mesa Soto’s Amparo is the type of film that is more interested with the issue at its core than anything else. This story of a mother trying to help keep her son from being forcibly conscripted into the military in a war that will surely lead to his death is nothing short of heartbreaking, even if it is a bit one-dimensional in its approach. In terms of being a character study about the mother, it’s quite moving, but one can’t help but feel like the perspective of the son would have rounded this out nicely.
Some films are quietly restrained in a way that causes them to creep under your skin and leave quite a lingering impact. That is the case with Javier Andrade’s Lo Invisible, a subtle exploration of postpartum depression. As the title suggests, this is a very introspective film, with very little in the way of external conflict. The result is a film that will understandably be a bit too restrained and melancholy for some viewers, but will resonate deeply with those who are able to peel back the layers of the film and see the invisible forces at play.
Anaïs in Love
There’s a certain level of charm to Anaïs in Love, but even so, the film cannot escape an overwhelming feeling of familiarity. A love triangle the likes of which we have seen dozens of times before, there’s nothing about the film that is outright bad, but also nothing particularly impressive about it, either. It’s not especially funny, nor does it offer anything insightful about love and romance. Anaïs Demoustier is very charismatic, and elevates the lead role beyond its very generic trappings, but other than that, there is little that makes this romantic comedy memorable.
A Film About Couples
Metafiction is a plot device that, when used correctly, can work out really well, but it is also very easy to screw up. Natalia Cantal and Oriol Estrada’s A Film About Couples incorporates it in a way that is mostly effective, even if it is lacking in focus at times. With a very funny opening that is effectively a tongue-in-cheek slap in the face to an audience that will certainly overanalyze the rest of the film. And the way in which it uses certain romantic comedy beats is quite interesting.
Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Way
In discussions about the AIDS epidemic, the disease and the people who had it are often held at an arm’s distance, but there are activists who helped bring this topic to the public eye. Pedro Zamora, one of the participants on The Real World, was one of the most instrumental individuals in making the American public understand the disease better. The documentary Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Way isn’t the most groundbreaking in its presentation, but the extraordinary message of empathy that it and its subject teaches is what makes it worth watching.
Hugo Perez takes a very traditional music documentary approach to telling the story of Afro-Cuban legend Omara Portuondo in his documentary Omara, but his subject is so illustrious and stories that her story is more than enough to keep the audience invested. Although the short runtime does prevent the film from going as in-depth into the significance that she has beyond her musical contributions, her accomplishments are so impressive that they speak for themselves. This documentary will be a wonderful way of introducing new generations to the incredible nonagenarian, and will remind others why she’s so amazing.
The 2022 Miami Film Festival runs from March 4-12.
The Snake Hole
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