Dir. Anwar Safa
Official Selection Feature Mexico
The Richter Scale says: Where do we belong? We all wonder that. We come into this world as members of a family and a community, but what happens when no one in that family or community understands us, or we don’t understand them? Jeremías (Martín Santiago) is a little boy in a small town in Sonora where most of its inhabitants are ignorant, including his own family. When an old man he plays chess with convinces him to take an IQ test, Jeremías discovers he’s a genius. Now that he knows, he’s convinced he was meant to do something extraordinary with his intellect, something no other kid can do. The problem is, like any other boy his age, he has no idea what he wants to do.
The script by Ana Sofía Clerici (known for the TV show Bienes Raíces) shows a very keen understanding of the mind of a child who feels like no one around him speaks the same language as him and the pressure a boy like that feels to do something with his talent, but she also gives the family a point of view without ever looking down at them (particularly the mother, played by Isela Vegas). Director Anwar Safa in his feature-length debut chooses an aesthetic made up of warm colors that jump out and a playful, satirical tone that makes it feel like a children’s storybook that’s constantly finding creative way to put our protagonist in unexpected situations. In the end, it’s a comedy, but like any good comedy, it treats every character and their unique point of view seriously.
Of course, this being a family comedy, the message is spelled out about us subtly as a baseball bat to the head and there’s a sub-plot involving Jeremías’ teenage uncle that even though it leads to an adorable climax, is often at odds with the film’s pacing (which is one of constant creative energy). The film’s biggest hit, though, is the way it explores childhood as a period of search and what that search means to this little boy who doesn’t feel he belongs in his family, even though he never hates them necessarily. Even children who don’t have a high IQ go on this very confusing quest through life and it’s a relief to know that even if you’re very smart and can understand why people feel what they feel when they feel it, doesn’t mean you’re excluded from those feelings yourself.
This film will screen today at 5:00 pm at the Ángela Peralta Theater and in Guanajuato City on Thursday, July 23rd at 4:00 pm at the Juárez Theater.
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