Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: La Playa D.C (Juan Andres Arango Garcia, 2012)

Juan Andres Arango Garcia’s feature film debut, exquisite urban drama La Playa D.C., which screened as part of the Un Certain Regard lineup at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, takes a viewer intimately into the daily struggles of Tomas (Luis Carlos Guevara), an Afro-Colombian teenager who has fled the Pacific coast to live in Bogota.

Through Tomas we understand the difficulties of growing up in a city of exclusion and racism. When his younger brother Jairo (Andres Murillo), a targeted drug addict with a debt, disappears, he shacks up with his newly returned, street-savvy older brother, Chaco (James Solis). Their mother’s no-nonsense partner and a newborn push Tomas onto the streets and rather than catching the first bus out of town he decides to seek out and help Jairo. Tomas and Chaco vow to save up any cash they can earn – the means come from a variety of means; unloading goods at a market, shining the hubcaps of motorists – in preparation for their escape. But, the custom haircut profession immediately attracts Tomas and could offer an opportunity for him to utilize his developing skill set, cultivate an identity and earn a clean living.

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