LA PLAYA D.C. (Juan Andrés Arango). See listing. Rating: NNN
The name notwithstanding, aluCine's film component starts nearly a week into the festival's run with the Canadian premiere of this drama about a Colombian teenager trying to survive on the mean streets of Bogotá.
After his mother and her boyfriend kick him out, Tomás (Luis Carlos Guevara) crashes with his older brother Chaco (Jamés Solis), who's looking to head to Canada in a month or so - if his plans aren't derailed by the actions of their baby brother Jairo (Andrés Murillo), who's on a collision course with drug dealers.
Making his feature debut, director Juan Andrés Arango displays a great eye for detail and a fondness for the realist aesthetic perfected by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne over the past decade; it's no surprise that La Playa D.C. was selected for Cannes's Un Certain Regard program last year.
The young performers are strong, but the drama hits the stock points of every movie set in a slum or favela in the last decade. And Arango never quite sells the notion that Tomás and his brothers are struggling with the trauma of escaping the war in Buenaventura. It feels as if someone thought the characters required a little more depth at the last minute.
Screens Wednesday (March 27), at Jackman Hall.