Mittwoch, 2. Juli 2014

Filmfest München: Pelo malo (Bad Hair)

It takes a while before the Venezuelan youth drama "Pelo malo (Bad Hair)" gets to its point and the way it concludes feels more like a hesitant, anticipatory semicolon than a solid period. Even then, the narrative wanders a little between two ends, never quite focusing on one course. It's safe to say the movie's not the most compact, concentrated effort out there.

That said, by building her film around a nine-year-old boy who's bent on straightening his unruly curly hair for a school photo shoot, writer/director Mariana Rondón has found a beautiful angle to look at gender roles in today's Latin America. More directly concerned with sexuality of prepubescents than, say, "Billy Elliot", it examines those identity-defining moments in life where one's first confronted with attraction, and those are, needless to say, quietly volcanic moments. Convincingly written and gently played by Samuel Lange Zambrano, the film instantly gains a clarity and an edge when it deals with such precious, mysterious, terrifying episodes where a young person learns more about himself and grows further away from innocence.

Other than that, being a Latino film, a celebratory joie de vivre cannot miss. Though it's decidedly held back overall, there's one musical number in the movie featuring a grandma singing and dancing with her grandson. And the minute mouths are opened and bodies start swaying, it's just all second nature to them and cinematic fireworks for us.

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