Paco R. Baños – Ali (2012)

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In a role reversal that is challenging for any young adult, Ali has become a caretaker to her mother’s delicate mental health. While her mother’s mood alternates between boyfriend-induced happiness to solitary depression, Ali is left to rebelliously carve her own place in the world. Scarred by the past, she chainsmokes, refuses to learn to drive, and is terrified of falling in love. Ali spends her days working in a supermarket and the rest of her time off on misadventures with her friend. But when she meets Julio, her tough veneer starts to crack and she may have to amend her strict rules of non-engagement. Nadia de Santiago gives a star-making performance as Ali, a multi-layered young woman who has been forced to grow up too quick yet is holding on desperately to her youth. The world that writer-director Paco R. Baños has designed for her is delightfully quirky, giving her a true sense of charisma that affords her buoyancy to float above her challenging situation. Baños’ debut feature is an assured debut that breathes life into the coming-of-age genre, stylistically painting in lush primary colors but finding the more complicated colors mixing beneath the surface. Continue reading