Roughly 2 weeks ago, the International Film Festival of Panama took place. On its 5th edition they showcased more local films than before, living proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Cultural projects are often neglected by the government and associations that are meant to support emerging talent. This event lasted around a week so naturally, with design and film titles under our belts and a thirst for entertainment, we managed to attend a few of them.
I might get a bit in trouble for saying this, but the organization and their ticketing system SUCKED. You weren’t able to buy them online unless you had a Mastercard. And when you tried purchasing them from an authorized seller (brick and mortar shops) you ran the risk of them telling you there was just one seat available or they ran out of tickets to print. It happened to me and I missed a couple of movies I really wanted to watch like Magallanes, Viva and The Thin Yellow Line/La delgada línea amarilla (and meeting some celebs as well, who roamed among us mortals during that time). Also, I couldn’t get in for the Opening/Closing galas. At $30/each, I couldn’t bring myself to shower them with my pretty pennies. The Thin Yellow Line was only going to be shown at the Closing event, so unless i cashed out and got all fancy for the night , I didn’t stand a chance.
On Monday night we attended the Premiere for Salsipuedes, a Panamanian film about life in one of Panama’s most famous neighborhoods – all of its idiosyncrasy and violence. Took us about two hours to get to this particular theater cause we got caught up in a Friday night traffic jam. The National Theater, which they used for this particular set of events, got shut down last year for lack of maintenance, so we got the Teatro Balboa left.
The film itself… I give it a 3/5. I was expecting to finally be blown away by a national film but I left underwhelmed. The cinematography was nice, I believe they took a risk with some shots and they were a hit, but the acting left much to be desired. Apart from a few actors, I felt they failed hard at casting people aptly qualified for film (or they were not well trained for the part). You know how theater acting is different from film acting? That.
The storyline itself was a bit poor and predictable for my taste, but cinematographically I feel it succeeded.
Now let’s move on to A la deriva. What a documentary. We waited at the rush line cause we failed at getting tickets (read above). 10 years ago, over 200 thousand cough syrup bottles were distributed to the Caja del Seguro Social patients. Little they knew they had used chemicals intended for the automotive industry. People died from poisoning and survivors live with permanent damage, inside and out. Physically and emotionally. It was a touchy subject with raw emotion that moved across the movie venue. It was filmed and edited almost flawlessly in my opinion. 5/5.
Days later, because our busy schedules kept us away from the venues… Sin Filtro. Technically, we didn’t watch it ~during~ the festival, but at a private screening from my workplace that took place simultaneously. It was featured at the IFF though. A chilean film about being your true self when with others. I felt identified with it. It was about a lady who had a seemingly well-put home life, a successful job…but she was a pushover and it was affecting her health, physically and emotionally. She worked at an Ad agency – hello! And they were trying to overlook her experience and hard work for a Youtube Vlogger with bird poop for brains. That, among other things. Until she began speaking her mind. It was wonderful, refreshing, hilarious and approachable. 5/5.
Last but not least…Dheepan. My boyfriend suggested we watched it. We saw “Indian themed things” and went for it without knowing what we were gonna sit down for, so we proceeded to buy the tickets and called it a date.
Dheepan was more than that. It was directed by Jacques Audiard, the same guy who brought us Rust and Bone. The story began in Sri Lanka, in the middle of a civil war, and was about a Tamil freedom fighter who fled to France, along with a woman he barely knew and an orphaned kid. They formed a family to the eyes of others, in hopes of building a better life for themselves in France, and relatively safe haven. It was raw, emotional and sadly, the true story of millions from anywhere and everywhere who have flown home just for a chance of a future, for better or worse. I liked it a lot. It was a bit slow at times, I attribute that to the director’s style, but it grabbed your attention right from the get go. 4.5/5.
And that’s a wrap! These reviews are based on no other than my personal opinion and experience. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your own experiences, reviews and suggestions in the comment section below.