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CIFF 2017: Liquid Truth & Wind Traces

October 21, 2017

 

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So far, of the films I’ve seen at the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) this year, there are two dramatic features that stand out and have remained with me long after viewing. They are “Liquid Truth” from Brazil and “Wind Traces” from Mexico and both provide the kind of viewing experience I look for each year at this festival – which is see live from a different place and perspective, yet be reminded that regardless of where we live or are from, all of us will experience very similar human emotions. That’s on display in these films, both of which are directed by women with a confident visual style that tells compelling stories that are brought to life by great performances. At this time, I’m confident that one of them, “Liquid Truth”, will be my favorite film of the festival and that “Wind Traces” will be a film I’ll want to revisit to get another take on it.

Hopefully, both of these films will find U.S. distribution, but it’s never a sure thing. In the past, there have been one or two films from another country that stand out at CIFF and eventually turns out that they never get picked up, unfortunately making my festival viewing the only chance I’ll have of seeing it. Again, I hope that’s not the case with these two films as they definitely deserve an audience outside of their respective countries.

You can check out my mini-reviews of them both below….

 

 

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LIQUID TRUTH (AOS  TEUS OLHOS)

directed by: Carolina Jabor
(Brazil)

When a young boy shares with his mother that he has experienced uncomfortable affection from an adult during swimming class, she quickly takes to social media to share her outrage, dissatisfied with how his father is handling the alleged matter. The accused is Rubens (an observant and intuitive performance from Daniel de Oliveira), an attentive and friendly swimming instructor who finds himself caught in a sudden incrimination that develops into an irreversible word-of-mouth that threatens to destroy his job and reputation. Working off a smart screenplay from Lucas Paraizo, co-producer/director Carolina Jabor has crafted a compelling and engaging story that wrestles with challenging subject matter, briskly capturing what develops for these characters within 24 hours of the accusation. It’s a film with palpable tension that definitely speaks to how quickly we are to pass judgement on others and the unfortunate repercussions that immediately follow.

RATING: ****

 

 

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WIND TRACES (RESTOS DE VIENTO) 

directed by:  Jimena Montemayor
(Mexico)

 

Set in the 1970s Mexico, writer/director Jimena Montemayer tells a story of grief and loss in a artistic and somewhat surreal manner. It follows Carmen (a mesmerizing Dolores Fonzi), who is unable to care for her two children, Ana and Daniel, due to her crippling depression as she awaits the return of her husband. The three of them do their best to cope from a mysterious trauma, while Ana rejects adult like and Daniel is seemingly the only one visited by woodland spirits, as they try and push through pain and sorrows in their lives. “Wind Traces” has a deliberately abstract approach with some fine art direction by Alisarine Ducalomb and ethereal cinematography form Maria Secco, yet I found myself having a hard time staying interested in the story and how it was playing out, despite enjoying most of the performances and being fascinated by the Malick-like approach Montemayor employs.

 

RATING: **1/2

 

 

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