Multi-hyphenate visitor Fernanda Romandia’s look into childhood in a coastal Mexican encampment premiered in a sidebar of a Dutch festival.
Small is pleasing in Fernanda Romandia’s docu-fiction hybrid Pacifico, that uses a world’s largest geographical underline as backdrop for a ethereal wisp of a sun-kissed, sea-side tale. Low-key and lo-fi in each critical respect, it’s a still and medium charmer whose occasional severe edges are generally some-more endearing than distracting. Tailor-made for festival play, this latest tour from Mexico’s art-film powerhouse Mantarraya (Amat Escalante’s Heli; Carlos Reygadas’ Post Tenebras Lux) seeks to follow in a peaceful footsteps of their 2009 quasi-doc success To The Sea (Alamar) — whose multi-hyphenate auteur Pedro Gonzalez Rubio shares cinematography duties here.
To The Sea, a multi-generational story set in a Caribbean fishing encampment on a Yucatan peninsula, nabbed a Tiger Award for Gonzalez Rubio when premiering in Rotterdam’s categorical foe 7 years ago. Pacifico might good have contended for identical honors this time, if a festival hadn’t halved a series of foe slots to 8 — though serve identical berths are though likely, including maybe in festivals geared especially to non-fiction fare.
Initially announced as a documentary, Pacifico mostly unfolds in and around a beach during Puerto Escondido, where a integrate of dozen group are employed on a construction of a low-rise complicated building. This is ‘Casa Wabi’, an angularly pointed “house and art center” designed as residence/atelier/display-space for a distinguished Mexican artist Bosco Sodi. The designer is Japanese vital fable Tadao Ando, whose unconventional minimalism is some-more generously showcased in a arriving Kristen Stewart sci-fier Equals.
Sodi, meanwhile, is famous for a thickly encrusted surfaces of his paintings, that are mostly of one industriously heated hue. Feature-debutante Romandia and her collaborators obliquely channel elements of both Ando and Sodi’s esthetic into Pacifico, that is structured with gangling morality though enlivened with a clear daytime colors of a Mexican littoral.
The ongoing construction-work is a stratagem to enter a private universe of 7-year-old Coral (Coral Flores), who wanders happily around a site preoccupied to a unique hazards of such workplaces. The laborers further take a blithely laissez-faire to a kid’s perambulations — a talkative moppet visits her bricklayer godfather Diego (Diego Flores) after propagandize each day, distinguished adult a loyalty with carpenter Oriente (Ricardo Cruz Velazquez).
The latter is a boozy, unreal oddball, an determined producer and full-time who uses Cervantes’ Don Quixote as a kind of personal I Ching. Oriente avidly mines a classical content for his mantras — “everyone is a designer of his possess fortune,” he regularly muses/mumbles. All of a ‘cast’ seem to be non-pros, “playing” themselves, displaying varying degrees of on-camera annoy — though small Flores, crucially, is a pleasant natural.
Not a good understanding happens. Indeed, a reduction that happens a better, as Romandia and co-writer Daniela Schneider’s some-more apparently fictionalized interpolations — such as Oriente’s ill-starred, booze-fueled, skirt-chasing outing to a loud review only after a median symbol — see a design curve divided from the insinuate concentration and distinctive, honeyed flavors. Loose, casual, observational sequences infer most some-more educational — absolved glimpses into typical folks’ daily lives as they reveal amid a truly unusual geographical setting.
Production company: Mantarraya
Cast: Coral Flores, Ricardo Cruz Velazquez, Irma Cruz, Diego Flores, Paulina Torres, Severino Rios
Director / Editor: Fernanda Romandia
Screenwriters / Casting: Fernanda Romandia, Daniela Schneider
Producer: Jaime Romandia
Cinematographer: Fernanda Romandia, Pedro Gonzalez Rubio
Production designer: Daniela Schneider
Composer: Martin Delgado
Sales: Mantarraya Producciones, Mexico City
No Rating, 72 minutes