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Bad Hair

Pelo Malo

Venezuela | 2013 | 93 minutes | Mariana Rondón

In this finely acted, deceptively small-scaled film, nine-year-old Junior and his frustrated single mother clash over Junior’s desire to straighten his kinky hair. The tower blocks of Caracas, Venezuela are the backdrop for a subtly powerful domestic drama.

May 18, 2014
xHarvard Exit  
9:00 PM Date has passed
May 22, 2014
AMC Pacific Place 11  
4:30 PM Date has passed
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Junior is a nine-year-old boy with adamantly curly hair who dreams of having long, flowing locks like his favorite pop star. His constant obsession with looking at himself in the mirror and fixing his hair has become a growing concern for Marta, his struggling, recently widowed mother. Fired from her job as a security guard, Marta barely survives by cleaning the homes of the wealthy, and desperately seeks some form of stability and control in her life. While her affection for her son is palpable, Junior's emerging identity challenges her belief in strict male-female gender roles. As his annual school photo approaches, Junior's fixation grows, putting the two on a collision course. Exercising a keen, dramatic sense, writer-director Mariana Rondón (Postcard From Leningrad, SIFF 2008) withheld her script from her actors, choosing instead to allow their naturalistic performances to emerge organically in each scene. Cinematographer Micaela Cajahuaringa's tight lensing keeps our focus on the performances, with stunning rewards: Samantha Castillo's edgy, guarded performance captures Marta's tightrope walk between love and fear, and Samuel Lange carries every scene in a slippery, stunning portrayal of Junior's transformation from his initial appeasement to his defiant later scenes that give hope that true individualism can survive in the roughest of terrains.

Director Biography

Director, screenwriter, and visual artist Mariana Rondon was born in Venezuela. Rondon graduated from the inaugural class of the Film School EICTV in Cuba and later went on to study animation in Paris. Her second feature Postvcards From Leningrad (2007) received 23 international awards.

Director: Mariana Rondón
Principal Cast: Samuel Lange, Samantha Castillo, Nelly Ramos, Beto Benites, Maria Emilia Sulbarán
Country: Venezuela, Peru, Germany
Year: 2013
Running Time: 93 minutes
Producer: Marité Ugás
Screenplay: Mariana Rondón
Cinematographers: Micaela Cajahuaringa
Editors: Marité Ugás
Music: Camilo Froideval
Website: Official Film Website
Awards: San Sebastian Film Festival 2013 (Golden Shell for Best Film), Havana Film Festival 2013 (Special Jury Prize), Thessaloniki Film Festival 2013 (FIPRESCI Prize, Bronze Alexander)
Filmography: Postcards from Leningrad (2007); At Midnight and a Half (2000)
Language: Spanish
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: DCP
US Distributor: FiGa Films
International Sales: FiGa Films
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