A Winter to Remember begins with Lucia’s (Cecilia Valenzuela Gioia) recurring dream, one where she’s running. Her waking life, however, is equally dramatic. One where people talk at her or to her, speculating on her mental condition. And in these moments, like when her parents talk about her, she blocks them out. Everyone has the same proposal to make her happy – to take her medication, to meet people, and to go out. She can function relatively well but those methods don’t always work perfectly for her. Gioia also serves as the film’s director and I love how she makes Lucia authentic.
One way she does this is to capture Lucia’s relationship with the spaces and people she’s in. Gioia explores the youth culture in Salta, Argentina. She also shows what they do and how everyone seems to know each other there. Her camera also subvert’s Lucia’s perspective on those places. She turns her fear of them and sublimating it into something positive. The nightclub is an obnoxious place and the place where she finds Oli (Mercedes Burgos), her first love. The breakfast table is where she’s the topic of conversation but is also where she can receive her family’s acceptance.
Speaking of acceptance, I love the scene when Lucia comes out to her family. Other films use coming out scenes like blunt instruments for comedy and to alienate their protagonists. Gioia, on the other hands, takes her time with it. She also directs and acts the hell out of that scene. There’s a raw, home video feel to that scene, as well as the rest of the movie. It wears Gioia’s status as a first time director on its sleeve. But its her sensitivity and complexity that comes out, proving that young people can tell their stories after all.