Saturday, October 12th, 2013

After Lucia aka Después de Lucía

Life after Lucia dies in a fatal car accident is tough on her husband Roberto and teenage daughter Alejandra, and to help deal with their heartbreak and grief they up sticks and leave their family home in Puerto Vallarta to start a new life in Mexico City. Roberto is a chef and plans to start his own restaurant, whilst Alejandra has to deal with settling into her new school.
The latter is not difficult for Ale (as her friends call her) and she soon falls in tight with a group of popular kids led by the bossy Camilla. One weekend they all take to off one of their parent’s opulent beach houses where alone they party real hard. Totally drunk Ale has bathroom sex with Jose a handsome hottie and she allows him to video it on his cellphone. When they all return home the video goes viral, and at the instigation of Camilla who had wanted Jose herself, Ale is immediately made a target of verbal and physical abuse by all her classmates.
No matter how very bad this degenerates she keeps it all from her father who she senses is dealing with too many of his own demons as a part of his grief. It isn’t until after a school-trip to the Coast when the bullying results in a distraught Ali walking out into the Ocean, does the situation come to the notice of the teachers who then have to tell Roberto the bad news.
Despite Camilla’s efforts most of whole story of the video and the campaign of terror levelled against Ale comes out, but because the children are legal ‘minors’ the Police are neither able to question any of them, or take any action against them. Roberto discovers that any private detective would also be unable to achieve more, so he takes the matter into his own hands determined to avenge his daughter.
Ali had actually not been drowned as everyone had suspected, but she had come ashore further up the beach and made her way back to camp out in her old house in Puerto Vallarta, but she was too petrified even to contact her father to tell him she was alive and safe.
This powerful tale of the heinous topic of school-bullying will leave you totally reeling no matter how many instances you may have been aware of previously.  Mexican writer/director Michel Franco skillfully builds this compelling story slowly from the very first scene when we see Roberto abandon a car in mid-traffic and as we gradually get a real sense of who this father and daughter are, everything fits into place.  Even the end, which is unquestionably one of the most disturbing finales to any movie that I have ever sat through.
Exceptional performances by an extraordinarily talented cast but I am totally in awe of Tessa Ia who played Ale with such sensitivity that so belied her young age.
The ‘good’ news about the movie is that it won the prestigious ‘Un Certain Regard’ at Cannes Film Festival.  The ‘bad’ news is that NO distributor has plans to show this in Theaters in the US, or even as VOD, as I’m guessing its considered way too tough take on a very controversial subject.  It is however available in the UK/Europe on DVD at www.amazon.co.uk  

P.S. I am lucky enough to live near the Miami Beach Cinematheque, an amazing Art House, where Director Dana Keith showed this movie one night as part of his ‘Cinephile’ Series.

Posted by queerguru  at  22:26


Genres:  drama, international

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