Monday, June 30, 2014

Feriado (Holiday)

Feriado (Holiday), dir. Diego Araujo, Ecuador, 2013, 82 min., in Spanish with English subtitles
Juampi (Juan Manuel Arregui) and
Juano (Diego Andrés Paredes)
Thursday, June 19, 10:00 pm, Castro Theatre
Monday, June 23, 1:00 pm, Castro Theatre

Feriado (Holiday) is set during a banking crisis in Ecuador in 1999. The main character, Juampi (short for Juan Pablo), is the teenage nephew of a bank official who is implicated in a corruption scandal that is causing massive disruption to the national economy. Juampi and his mother travel to the family hacienda in the mountains for the  holiday, staying with his aunt and uncle and cousins. Juampi is a reluctant participant, not least because his cousins are glad to see him only because he can serve as the designated victim for their new bullying techniques. One night, Juampi meets Juano, a young man from the town near the hacienda, and they begin a complicated friendship that it's clear neither young man fully understands. It's not nearly as simple as "Juampi comes out as gay and they live happily ever after." Juampi saves Juano from a beating at the hands of his uncle's bodyguards, and is drawn closer to him, with awakening feelings he hasn't ever had the freedom to explore. Juano likes going to parties or swimming in the river or talking about heavy metal music with Juampi, but seems to be unaware of other dimensions to Juampi's experience. We get to come along for the ride for the first stage in Juampi's voyage of self-discovery, but with many of the questions left unanswered. It's a beautiful coming-of-age tale, and a great first feature with a great performance by the first-time actor in the lead role. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

IMDb page • Official website (SpanishEnglish) • Facebook page

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