FICUNAM 2014: MANTO ACUÍFERO
The latest film by Michael Rowe (Año Bisiesto), Manto Acuífero, depicts the process in which a little girl finally comes in contact with her internal aggression. Carolina is a six year old girl that moves to a new place, along with her mother and her mother’s new boyfriend. As the vacations go by, the absence of her father becomes a mystery, and the tension between the mother and her boyfriend rises, Carolina starts to sink in confusion and genuine despair.
However, it is this minimalism that turns somehow problematic in the film. It is well known that in Latin American cinema there’s a special interest in hyper-realistic characters and stories more tied to everyday life than to overtly fictitious scenarios. The problem with Manto Acuífero is that it has a severe lack of spontaneity.
On the other hand, there are many good things in the story. It is probably a great script which couldn’t be translated into the making. It feels a lot like the illustration of a “great script” with a default and pre-configured style that renders the film lifeless.
In spite of this, it is interesting how the protagonist is surrounded by worlds that are alien to her (adults with their problems and complexities; nature with its insects and tall trees; fairy tale princesses in the stories that her mother tells her every night, most of which are orphaned).
As the plot develops these worlds orbit around her in an increasingly fast pace, catching fire and ultimately exploding in a great final scene which is the reason why we could say that in spite of the various shortcomings mentioned above, Manto Acuífero is a humane and powerful film.
ANDRÉS AZZOLINA (@azzzolina)
Trans. Yannick Bautista (@yannickbautista)
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