FROM CINEMA TO CINEMA: Identifying Features

FROM CINEMA TO CINEMA: Identifying Features
Fecha de publicación: 
9 December 2021
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Identifying Features, competes in the debut section of the 42nd Havana Film Festival.

This is a tough film, an intense and haunting drama, the debut of a director who has much to say, and knows how to say it. Without much ado, without gloating, with a powerful style. And at the same time with great beauty, with an essential elegance. Identifying Features, by Fernanda Valadez, is a road movie without dead ends, despite the fact that the director takes her time to compose vivid images — landscapes, details — that give the narrative a density at times dreamlike.

The story moves between stark realism and reverie (or nightmare), and it unfolds, event after event, linking plot lines to a surprising ending. There’s a constant tension here, constantly threatening to burst... until she finally does, in a very well attained climax.

The film plunges into the violence that rages in the Mexican border with the United States: kidnappings, disappearances, paramilitary gangs, tragedies of irregular immigration. It’s a document committed to that traumatic reality and its protagonists (victims and perpetrators, with disturbing set ups). And it’s also an inspired performance, with a distinct lyrical line.


Today the Yara cinema will run one of the most expected films of this edition of the Havana Film Festival: My Tender Matador, Rodrigo Sepúlveda's recreation of the homonymous novel by Chilean activist and writer Pedro Lemebel, a book widely read in Cuba after Casa de las Américas published it a few years back. Another story about the Pinochet dictatorship, but from the viewpoint of a singular character, a hero that has nothing to do with the romantic idea we have of heroes.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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