After Lucia (Después de Lucia) 2012
Distributed by Pragda, 302 Bedford Ave., #136, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Produced by Marco Polo Constandse and Michel Franco
Directed by Michel Franco
DVD , color, 102 min.
Sr. High - General Adult
Sociology, Women, Storytelling
Date Entered: 06/03/2014Reviewed by Jennifer Dean, Graduate of the CUNY Graduate Center MALS program with thesis on female filmmakers.
After Lucia depicts the unraveling of two characters, Roberto and his daughter Alejandra, after a car accident where Lucia, Alejandra’s mother (Roberto’s wife) dies. The film opens with Roberto picking up his wife’s car after it has been fixed. What seems like a mundane exchange between Roberto and the mechanic explaining all of the things that have been fixed and how the car has been cleaned takes on much more meaning once the audience realizes the significance of that vehicle to the narrative. Much of the opening sequences take place in a car. At first the framing may seem cramped and stilted because so much of the action is either inhibited by the perspective of shooting these two characters from the back seat of a car or simply viewing scenes through the windows of the car, but it proves incredibly affective in relation to the narrative. The car accident (and therefore the car) is what leads to Lucia’s death and the depression and subsequent descent of both Roberto and Alejandra. When Roberto deals with the insurance company regarding the accident the agent claims the report says that Alejandra was learning to drive at the time of the accident. Roberto quickly remonstrates that no, they were simply talking about her learning to drive.
Roberto and Alejandra attempt to start their lives over by moving to a new town and a new house, with Alejandra starting a new school and Roberto starting a new job. Of course replacing the new with the old does not allow them to leave behind the memories and guilt associated with Lucia’s death. Despite their clear love for one another, neither of them can take care of each other or themselves but merely seem to exist in parallel. The film has wonderful performances with a lovely chemistry between the father and daughter. Alejandra suffers greatly at the hands of her new classmates who at times seem unrealistically cruel, but her acceptance of their cruelty makes sense in the context of her guilt and desire for punishment after her mother's death. The film sometimes suffers from excessive reliance on natural lighting (which works in some of the darker beach scenes), but otherwise is well shot and takes its time to let the action unravel in a realistic and moving manner.
- Mexican Submission for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film, Cannes Film Festival
- Un Certain Regard, San Sebastian Film Festival
- Special Mention in the Horizontes Section, Havana Film Festival –
- Best Director, Chicago International Film Festival
- The Silver Huge Special Jury Prize