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Pelo malo (2013)

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A nine-year-old boy's preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Samuel Lange Zambrano ... Junior
... Marta
... El jefe
Nelly Ramos ... Carmen (La abuela)
María Emilia Sulbarán ... La niña
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Martha Estrada ... Perla
Cristina Tovar ... Periodista
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A nine-year-old boy's preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother.

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25 April 2014 (Venezuela)  »

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Bad Hair  »

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Outstanding
29 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

"Pelo Malo" may turn out to be one of the great films about childhood. It is also one of the few movies that could loosely fit into the criteria of New Queer Cinema since it deals with the subject of a nine year old boy who almost certainly will grow up gay. He lives in the slums of Caracas with his mother and baby brother and it's his obsession with his hair, among other things, that leads his mother to conclude that he might, indeed, be gay and she's not the type of mother who wants a gay son. Fundamentally the issues on display here are notions of machismo and homophobia and they are treated with a good deal of sensitivity and some humour by the director Mariana Rondon.

As the boy, little Samuel Lange Zambrano is really quite extraordinary and Samantha Castillo is equally good as the mother struggling to keep her family together. Indeed, the naturalistic acting of the whole cast is to be commended. This is largely down to the intuitive direction of Rondon whose documentary-style approach is not far removed from Italian neo-realism and, although this is only her third feature in 16 years, marks her out as someone to watch.


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