Katherine Jerkovic’s first feature is its meatiest when it depicts moments that clearly involve changing dynamics within the self. Sarah (Arlen Aguayo Stewart) works as a waitress in Canada, a job that, obviously, doesn’t tap into her potential. Wanting to take a break from all of that, she decides to backpack to her home town in Uruguay. There, she reconnects with her grandmother, Dona Magda (Gloria Demassi), and they talk about what the other has missed. Reunions like this are are always bittersweet, especially since Sarah’s father Claudio died before he can make the trip. The two women eventually have to discuss him, and Jerkovic’s camera work depicts these conversations with an intimate beauty. These dinner table scenes also feel present, focusing on what the characters have instead of what they have lost.
Aguayo, in her first leading role, gets to explore Sarah’s thoughts and memories during the scenes where she’s just alone. Doing her part, Jerkovic depicts a temperate summer. That’s obviously better than overdoing the glare and sweat prevalent in other films depicting that season. Other scenes, however, can’t escape the usual tropes that these lazy summer afternoon vacation movies like this often have. Here she is doing chores for Dona Magda and meeting characters that are inconsequential to the plot. Those scenes also gets her to have less substantial versions of the conversations she is already having with Dona Magda. It’s interesting to see Sarah’s reaction to these people console her after losing Claudio, which is polite of them. But the script doesn’t explore the potential ripe within the questions touching on the differences between Uruguay and Canada.
Nonetheless, this is, in its core, a movie about a young and flawed person who audiences can relate to. Watching this at home makes it easy to see how long Sarah spends time with the other characters. Jerkovic makes use of those long scenes and there’s momentum between them. And yes, some of the conversation topics feel like small talk. However, it also shows Sarah reaching out to her fellow countrymen. Her script also makes room for surprising detours where Sarah can make mistakes that show what’s really important to her. It also has its share of confrontations. Those get both Sarah and the script to make that balancing act of politeness and truth. The way we can feel every emotion and interaction makes this little local gem worth pursuing.
- Genre: Drama
- Release Date: 7/19/2019
- Directed by: Katherine Jerkovic
- Starring: Arlen Aguayo Stewart, Gloria Demassi
- Produced by: Micaela Sole, Nicolas Comeau
- Written by: Katherine Jerkovic
- Studio: 1976 Productions, Cordón Films
Comments are closed.