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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is a time of massive political violence in Peru and 8-year-old
Cayetana de los Heros (Fatima Buntinx) lives on the outskirts of Lima
in her mother and wealthy new stepfather's enormous upper class home.
Although she enjoys a sheltered and privileged existence, the distant
bloody conflict pervades her daily life. Bomb threats at her Catholic
school are a common occurrence and the walls of her village display
graffiti calling for "armed struggle" against the Peruvian state. Dead
animals adorned with terrorist threats are strung from the telephone
poles, and it is not unusual to hear explosions nearby in the night.
Too often left alone or in the charge of a harried household staff, Cayetana develops into quite the little troublemaker with a morbid obsession with death. At school she is lectured in rigid moralistic Catholic teachings that she calmly absorbs without question, including the pronouncement that her divorced and remarried mother is undoubtedly bound for hell. Angry at her mother's lengthy absence, Cayetana practices solemnly in front of the mirror how best to inform her parent of this eventual damnation.
She goes on to doctor the family pets to death without remorse, and steals a hidden nest egg from her parents, causing a maid to be wrongfully discharged for the crime. The self-absorbed father whom she loves and from whom she desperately craves attention woefully neglects her, making only infrequent visits to see her, most usually with one of his girlfriends in tow. This alienation causes her to feels abandoned and practically invisible, and to mollify her need for a worthwhile father-figure she escapes into daydreams about the brave martyred heroes of South America's past whom she wishes she could someday emulate.
When her anxiety-ridden mother (Katerina D'Onofrio) returns from a long trip abroad and announces that she is pregnant, Cayetana's little world is turned inside out. She surmises that the new baby's arrival means losing what little is left of her own place inside the family circle ("Two suns can't shine together"), and determines that she will die on the day her mother gives birth to her baby brother. It is not until the prospect of the real death of someone she loves arises that Cayetana is shaken from her fantasy world and considers that life may have more appeal than death.
A very imaginative and decidedly black comedy, LAS MALAS INTENCIONES (BAD INTENTIONS) is the first feature film by writer and director Rosario Garcia-Montero. "I make films about lonely people who fight to relate to others but fail," says Garcia-Montero of her work. "They are arrogant, but we spot them at their most vulnerable moment, generating feelings ranging from indifference to empathy." Born in Chicago, Garcia-Montero studied film at several international colleges including Lima University, New School University in New York and the Cuban film school Escuela International de Cine y Televisión (EICTV), where she developed the screenplay for LAS MALAS INTENCIONES.
LAS MALAS INTENCIONES was part of the 2012 Sarasota Film Festival's feature films selection.
This film marks the feature directorial debut for Garcia-Montero (who
also wrote and produced), and if she continues at this rate, she'll
only get better. The story is subtle, dark and well crafted with an
imaginative flair. More of a character study, we are shown the mind of
a little girl trying to find her place.
Cinematically, I thought the camera work was beautiful. I loved the dark lighting, filled with shadows and muted tones (an ostensible parallel to the life of young Cayetana). Not to mention, there were also many lovely shot compositions. I thought the music worked well, and I thought it was edited well. The direction was strong, and I thought the acting was great as well. A dark film, but it has its moments of surreality.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Peruvian film set in 1982 as the Communist Shining Path group tried to
violently force a terrible change on the Democratic Peru. But the movie
has next to nothing to do with that, it's merely in the background. A
nine-year old girl deals with her divorced parents and upcoming baby
sibling. But she wants none of... anything really and becomes a deviant
little delinquent. Bad intentions she has? The things she does are
really not that bad. As she becomes so disinterested in everything, I
became disinterested in her. The lead actress was so one-dimensional
that it made it difficult to give a crap about her. I wish I had been
able to find a different movie from Peru to watch. Oh well. It was
still mildly interesting to watch, as are so many foreign films from
incredibly different lands than our own.
5.5 / 10 stars
--Zoooma, a Kat Pirate Screener
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