Felipe Holguin Caro’s La Suprema has parallels with a few other films at this year’s festival, but for brevity’s sake, it has some similarities with another Latin American selection Valentina or the Serenity in that they’re both about one girl with a dream. In this film though, the protagonist is an Afro-Colombian girl, Laureana (Elizabeth Martinez), who wants to see her estranged uncle Anastasio win a boxing championship on live TV. She also wants to be a boxer herself and wants to train under the same guy who trained Anastasio. That trainer is Efrain (Antonio Jimenez), who now works as a construction worker in Cartagena and has his own historied beef with Anastasio. Another setback for Laureana is her traditional grandmother, Pabla (Pabla Florez).
The film beautifully tackles many issues, including the brain drain that affects vibrant small towns like the titular La Suprema. Laureana’s wish to follow Anastasia’s footsteps, not knowing what Efrain knows about doing so. It helps that all three of the main actors here are natural storytellers. Viewers can tell the bond that they have every time they’re on screen. Holguin Caro also adds supporting characters who express varying degrees of optimism and cynicism because duh. This is a film about Afrolatinos giving themselves another look, either through the mirror or a television that, in this case, they install in their shared village plaza. Lastly, the cinematography here is vibrant, this final product coming a long way from its pitching stage years ago.