TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Lots Of Kids, A Monkey, and a Castle’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 2017 by - September 15, 2017
TIFF 2017: Our Review of ‘Lots Of Kids, A Monkey, and a Castle’

“People will not be amused,” a woman (Julita Salmeron) talks to the camera. This is how she reacts to her son, documentarian and director Gustavo Salmeron. This is when he insists on her telling the story of her grandparents and his great-grandparents. She replies that this will only be amusing to the people to know her but not to an audience. Or an idea of an audience who presumably prefer stories about wars and countries and kings.

This is the same debate I had with a fellow critic. He has arguments like Julita while mine were like Gustavo’s. I argued that people are innately interesting to me. I’m sure there are exceptions. Julita and the film she’s in, Lots of Kids, A Monkey and a Castle, is not one of them.

It’s always in the way the storyteller presents his story that make it interesting. This is one of the better examples of a family documentary. Salmeron depicts Julita  as if he had a skip on his step the entire time. The whole family joins in too.

And of course there are some sad moments, like Julita recounting her life during the Spanish Civil War. But he always balances it out with some levity. As if the film, just like his mother’s spirit, and most people, is resilient to what life throws at it. Salmeron instills this enthusiasm for knowledge, listening and capturing the essence of her subject and mother. He’s with her in every step of the way.

 

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.