ND/NF 2011 Review: Summer of Goliath

Dustin Chang, Contributing Writer
The film starts with our unseen filmmaker interviewing bunch of kids in gorgeous close ups. Among them is Oscar, a handsome, sullen teenager. Everyone calls him Goliath because he is said to have killed his girlfriend. The details of Oscar's story from the testimonies are somewhat fuzzy. And so begins Summer of Goliath, a part documentary, part narrative, surveying the psycho-geography of fractured, violence ridden family lives in the small mountainous village in Mexico.

It's a grittier Mexican version of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. But it lacks humor and the spirituality of the Thai film. Nicolás Pereda takes the 'poetic' way to tell these impoverished people's lives where you are forced to live side by side with your mortal enemies, who have killed your loved ones.

Goliath's strength lies in the revealing interviews with its real village subjects. When it switches to the narrative side with Teresa Sanchez with her sad sack stories of woman being abandoned by her cheating husband for a younger woman, it falls apart. Her abandonment issue seems extremely trivial compared to the enrapturing beginning segment of the film.

With its 74 minutes running time, Summer of Goliath doesn't give you enough time to contemplate on what it means to be living in fear and anger, where drug wars and corruption are everyday occurrences. Still, with long takes and hand-held tracking shots and doc/narrative hybrid, Pereda seems to be cultivating his own voice.

Summer of Goliath is part of the ND/NF 2011. Click here for more info and Tickets.

Dustin Chang is a freelance writer. His musings and opinions of the world can be found at dustinchang.com
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