A nine-year-old boy’s preening obsession with straightening his hair elicits a tidal wave of homophobic panic in his hard-working mother, in this tender but clear-eyed coming-of-age tale. Junior is a beautiful boy, with big brown eyes, a delicate frame, and a head of luxurious dark curls. But Junior aches to straighten those curls to acquire a whole new look befitting his emerging fantasy image of himself as a long-haired singer. As the opportunity approaches to have his photo taken for the new school year, that ache turns into a fiery longing. Junior’s mother, Marta, is barely hanging on. The father of her children has died, she recently lost her job as a security guard, and she now struggles to put a few arepas on the table for Junior and his baby brother. Junior doesn’t even know yet what it means to be gay, but the very notion prompts Marta to set out to “correct” Junior’s condition before it fully takes hold. This is a story of people doing what they feel they have to, partly out of fear, but also out of love. - Diana Vargas, Toronto International Film Festival.
Eva Vila / Spain / 84 min / 2013 / Spanish with English subtitles
As believed by the Gypsies, Flamenco cannot be learned in a dance school or by reading music. It is lived within the home; it is created at the bar; its artistry is perfected on the street corner. Bajarí goes to all those places, following in the steps of its two main subjects: Karime and Juanito. The young bailaora (flamenco dancer), Karime Amaya, is working with some of the most talented, up-and-coming musicians and dancers to create a show that blends the Gypsy Flamenco tradition with Barcelona’s Rumba tradition. Their adventures and experiences become a journey of discovery of this living tradition and create an intimate portrait of how flamenco’s legacy is kept alive within Barcelona’s tight-knit Gypsy community. A must see documentary for music and dance lovers, Bajarí: Gypsy Barcelona is a private window into the intimate world of this vibrant and living art form.
BIRDBOY: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN (Birdboy: Los niños olvidados)
Alberto Vázquez & Pedro Rivero / Spain / 76 min / 2016 / Spanish with English subtitles There is light and beauty, even in the darkest of worlds. Stranded on an island in a post-apocalyptic world, teenager Dinky and her friends hatch a dangerous plan to escape in the hope of finding a better life. Meanwhile, Dinky’s old friend Birdboy has shut himself off from the world, pursued by the police and haunted by demon tormentors. But unbeknownst to anyone, he contains a secret inside him that could change the world forever. Based on a graphic novel and short film by co-director Alberto Vázquez and winner of the Goya Award for Best Animated Feature, Birdboy: The Forgotten Children is a darkly comic, beautiful, and haunting tale of coming of age in a world gone to ruin.'