Las Mil y Una [One in a Thousand] (2020)

Las Mil y Una
Director: Clarisa Navas
Writer: Clarisa Navas
Cast: Sofia Cabrera, Ana Carolina Garcia, Mauricio Vila, Luis Molina, Marianela Iglesia, Pilar Rebull Cubells, Victoria Cussigh
Part of: this human world Film Festival
Seen on: 5.12.2020

Content Note: (critical treatment of) homomisia and transmisia, sexualized violence

Plot:
Iris (Sofia Cabrera) spends her time playing basketball and hanging out with her cousins Darío (Mauricio Vila) and Ale (Luis Molina). When she sees Renata (Ana Carolina Garcia) in the neighborhood, she is immediately intrigued. She tries to find out more about Renata until Renata notices her and asks for her number. But there are many rumors going around about Renata and Iris is not sure about how to proceed.

Las Mil y Una left too many open questions for me to be really satisfying, I’m afraid. There were some very interesting things here, but everything remained much too vague.

The film poster showing Renata (Ana Carolina Garcia) and Iris (Sofia Cabrera) leaning against a brown wall.

Las Mil y Una has one thing going for it: pretty much everybody in this film is queer in one way or another and it is almost shown as entirely acceptable in the film’s world. There are a couple of moments where homo- and transmisia make their appearance, reminding us that the world is still a place of shit, but this movie carves out a corner for its characters where queerness is almost the norm.

It would have been interesting if the film had finished this thought, though. Instead it meanders around, touches on many things, but none of them really come to a conclusion anywhere. For example, there are rumors going around that Renata is HIV positive. By the end of the film, I still was not sure whether those rumors are actually true. This could be a comment on your HIV status being irrelevant, and in most contexts it is, but not for a possible, hopeful lover like Iris.

Iris (Sofia Cabrera) in a club, watching something.

Or another example: There is a scene where Ale is thoroughly humiliated by other boys in the neighborhood, it even crosses the line into sexualized violence. That scene is plopped into the film, we see how distraught Ale is and then, nothing. Given that general tendency of the film, it is not surprising that the film ends basically in the middle of a moment as well. But that it isn’t surprising doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

There were very strong moments here. The young cast is really excellent. The way queerness was everywhere was very nice to see. But overall the film touched on too many things without tying them together, leaving you adrift and unsure about what it is trying to say.

Darío (Mauricio Vila) hugging his mom from behind.

Summarizing: should have been more.

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