The Fishbowl

The Fishbowl

Spain | 2023 | 92 min. | Glorimar Marrero Sánchez

In this debut film from Glorimar Marrero Sánchez, a terminally ill woman returns to her native Puerto Rican island, one that the U.S. Navy poisoned with decades of military practices, to reunite with old friends and come to terms with her fate.

Illness is a common subject of many films, but its ravages are difficult to convey as they often lurk just beneath a placid surface, whether it's the human body or a tropical paradise. When we first meet Noelia (Isel Rodríguez), she outwardly resembles a healthy Puerto Rican woman in her 30s, drinking and dancing with friends in San Juan. But when we see her boyfriend Jorge (Maximiliano Rivas) routinely help her adjust a colostomy bag on her abdomen, we see that Noelia has been in remission after a lengthy, harrowing battle with an aggressive form of cancer. But she soon learns that her illness has returned and is metastasizing rapidly through her body. Racked with pain and again dreading her impending mortality, Noelia defiantly chooses not to resume her treatments. Instead, she leaves the well-meaning Jorge and retreats alone to the lush island of Vieques off Puerto Rico's east coast, where she grew up. She reconnects with her mother Flora (Magali Carrasquillo) and an old childhood friend Juni (Modesto Lacen) but tells neither of them about her dire condition. Juni and Flora are both active in a political group calling for the cleanup of hazardous materials from an abandoned U.S. Navy base that fouled many of Vieques' formerly pristine beaches—toxins that may have caused a spike in cancer cases such as Noelia's on the island. She channels some of her anger, agony, and fear into joining the environmental fight as she struggles to accept her fate. Director Glorimar Marrero Sánchez's debut feature artfully pairs Puerto Rico's tragic legacy of colonial abuse with Noelia's declining health, but gives her the agency to control her own lyrical exit.

Randy Woods

  • Original Language Title: La Pecera
  • Director: Glorimar Marrero Sánchez
  • Principal Cast: Isel Rodríguez, Modesto Lacén, Magali Carrasquillo, Maximiliano Rivas, Anamín Santiago
  • Country: Spain, Puerto Rico
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 92 min.
  • Producer: José Esteban Alenda, Amaya Izquierdo, Glorimar Marrero Sánchez
  • Screenplay: Glorimar Marrero Sánchez
  • Cinematographers: PJ López, SPC
  • Editors: Clara Martínez Malagelada
  • Music: Sergio de la Puente
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Spanish
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: Visit Films