True/False Film Fest, March 1, 2018 (world premiere)
in Spanish with subtitles
In short: needs a re-cut
This movie arrived dripping wet at True/False from Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside, whose anti-Tea Party Tumblrs you may have watched way back when. No obvious historical angle here, but this was by far the most interesting-looking option on Thursday afternoon when the festival kicked off.
By day Diego is a street performer in Puerto Vallarta, by night an Elvis impersonator on stilts at a tourist café. His brother Bruno is a circus performer. His other brother, Rodrigo, performs New Age “bowl ceremonies” for wealthy people.
These whimsical possibilities are mostly pushed to the side as the film’s main narrative concerns the three brothers’ 93-year-old grandmother América, living in Colima.
When their father Luis is thrown in jail for neglecting América, the boys must take care of their grandmother and her severe cases of dementia and constipation. Fortunately, her guileless, cheerful approach to life and Diego’s screen-filling devotion to her make this a mostly pleasant journey for the viewer, even as the relationship between the brothers — which were never that good — go sour with each passing month that Luis is in jail.
That said, I thought the movie’s payoff was not worth the longish wait that included a gratuitous fight between two brothers lacking any real connection to the main story. This is a 54-minute TV documentary idea stretched to 75 minutes. Since the film doesn’t even have an IMDb or Facebook page yet, I hope Stoll and Whiteside take it back for a hard-headed edit.