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Loving Each Other in the Shadows 2001

Not Recommended

Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Produced by CAIB and CEFREC
Directed by Marcelina Cárdenas
DVD, color, 47 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Latin America, Storytelling

Date Entered: 03/14/2014

Reviewed by Jennifer Dean, Graduate of the CUNY Graduate Center MALS program with thesis on female filmmakers.

Loving Each Other in the Shadows tells the classic Romeo and Juliet story of star-crossed lovers. Rosita, daughter of a wealthy family in Bolivia, falls for Juancito, son to a poor family, when the two share a dance during carnival time. The lovers find their way to each other despite Rosita’s family’s disapproval and end up hiding out in the mountains to be together. Rosita, after sneaking home in the middle of the night to retrieve some of her belongings, is killed by her father who mistakes her for an intruder. Juancito is followed by Rosita’s ghost and must find a way to guide her to the other side.

The story is a classic one in many cultures but according to the Third World Newsreel website this particular rendition is specific to the CK’ochas, the community from which the filmmaker hails. I was intrigued to see this film because it is the first narrative film directed by a female filmmaker as part of the CAIB (Bolivian Indigenous Peoples’ Audiovisual Council) and CEFREC (Cinematography Education and Production Center), a Bolivian indigenous media collective. Some of the landscapes in the film are truly breathtaking and Cárdenas creates some intriguing dream sequences. However, the overall production values of the film are problematic. The acting is stilted and initially it seems as though Rosita is not in fact in love with Juancito but eerily pursued by him, distracting from the narrative. I would like to be able to recommend this film because I do think it’s a valiant first effort but it is difficult to get past its cinematic limitations.