Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dad (orig. ¡Pa! ¡Por mis hijos lo que sea!) [2015]

MPAA (UR would be PG)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/4 Stars)

IMDb listing
FilmAffinity/es listing* radio interview w. director*
Vangardia.cine article about director* review* review*

Dad (orig. ¡Pa! ¡Por mis hijos lo que sea!) [2015] [IMDb] [FAes]* (written and directed by Harold Trompetero [IMDb] [FAes]*) is a very funny and very sweet FAMILY DRAMEDY from COLOMBIA that played recently at the 32nd (2016) Chicago Latino Film Festival.

Viewers will find it in a similar bittersweet vein as Roberto Begnini's Life is Beautiful (orig. La vita è bella) [1997] and Eugenio Derbez' more recent Instructions Not Included (orig. No se Aceptan Devoluciones) [2013].

The film's about Enrique (played by Júlio César Herrera [IMDb] [FAEs]*) initially some sort of a big-shot manager for some sort of a Colombian bank or enterprise.  At the beginning of the film, he's told by his boss that he's being promoted to lead the enterprise's office in Lima, Peru.  Just a few formalities needed to be completed -- some paper work, a medical exam -- and then he'd be set.

Well, Enrique comes home beaming to his wife Luz (played by Nöelle Shönwald [IMDb] [FAEs]*) and his teenage daughter (played by Grace David [IMDb] [FAEs]*) and slightly younger son (played by Juan Sebastian Parada [IMDb] [FAEs]*) and they're, of course, very excited.  The daughter in particularly with all the certainly of a 14-15 year old exclaims "Dad, and we're going to have to get completely new [iphones, etc] because you know PERU is at the _leading edge_ of the tech world in Latin America" (Nice try daughter, trying to get me to buy you a new iPhone ;-).

All this excitement comes to a screeching halt when the medical test comes back, and the boss tells him, "I'm sorry Enrique, but with a medical test like this we can't send you to Lima." (What does the test say, it's unclear).  Things get even worse when the boss informs him that _unfortunately_ they had already hired someone to replace him, SO ... not only does Enrique NOT get the promotion to Lima, but effectively HE'S LOST HIS JOB.

SO ... Enrique has to go home and tell the family that not only are they not going to Lima but now he's unemployed and ... at minimum his age it's not necessarily gonna be easy to find another job.

Much of the rest of the film is about Enrique coming-up with increasingly desperate ways to bring home some money, AND ALSO the family progressively adapting / chipping-in to try to make the situation better.

Notably the Colombian "valley girl" of a daughter who initially (and mindlessly) looked-down upon the young people her age working at the mall, "rolling her eyes" and so forth when they got something wrong ... now GETS A JOB AT THE SAME MALL (and finds herself putting-up with similar "eye rolling" customers ;-)  BUT SHE DOES THIS HAPPILY FOR THE SAKE OF THE FAMILY ... that is, SHE'S GROWN UP A BIT in the process ;-)

Luz, Enrique's wife becomes a real supportive trooper as well.

Of course, there's a reveal that has to occur, which I'm not going to reveal here.  But I do want to say that THIS WAS A REALLY NICE MOVIE.  Yes, the family was rich (certainly initially) richer than the vast majority of Colombians (or even North Americans) BUT IT WAS ALSO A FAMILY THAT REALLY SUPPORTED EACH OTHER WHEN TIMES GOT TOUGH.

It was just a really nice film and one that reminds Viewers of the place of Family in Latino Culture.  Rich or poor, everybody chips-in in times of need.

In that regard this is an excellent film, which turns out to be an homage that the writer / director Harold Trompetero [IMDb] [FAes]* was making TO HIS OWN DAD who went through many of the difficulties described in the film.

Good job!  Very good job!

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser. 

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