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Cocote is the story of Alberto, a garden worker who returns to his native town to attend the funeral of his father, murdered by a police. He finds himself attending religious services against his will. The story takes viewers to experience AfroAntillean spirituality and Dominican religious syncretism, bringing about reflects of intrinsic aspects of Dominican culture. In the film, the starring roles are by: Vicente Santos, Judith Rodríguez, Yuberbi de la Rosa, Pepe Sierra, José Miguel Fernández, Ricardo Ariel Toribio, Isabel Spencer and Enerolisa Núñez (Salve singer).Written by
One of the highlights of last year's Locarno Film Festival was this 'revenge' drama from the Dominican Republic. Alberto's father has been murdered and Alberto returns to his home town for what he believes will be his funeral but his father has already been buried and his family want him to participate in the 9 day mourning rituals though he does not believe in them.
Director Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias constructs his film "Cocote" partly as documentary and partly as a straightforward drama, playing around with screen formats, colour and black and white. The technique alone decrees this is anything but a simple revenge thriller, drawing you into a strange biblical world that is more Old than New Testament with Alberto wanting to turn the other cheek while his sisters cry out for an eye for an eye. Alberto is now a card-carrying, (or in his case, a bible-carrying), Christian while the apparent 'Christianity' of the Jesus Freaks of his home town is only a stone's throw away from Voodooism.
It's certainly a beautiful looking film. In instances like this, do we really need to understand why the director chose to film it the way he did or just simply luxuriate in the film's 'style' and it is indeed stylish with the cross-cutting between 'the rituals' and the main plot never seeming a mere affectation or a distraction. In terms of 'action' not a great deal happens; there is an awful lot of praying and it may feel a little overlong but this is a world most of us know nothing about. I found it fascinating and a remarkable piece of 'pure' cinema.
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