The Delay (La demora), an Excellent Ibermedia Film


The Ibermedia organization has helped arrange over 600 international coproductions involving film companies from its Central and South American member nations since 1998. The Museum of Modern Art’s ongoing film series “Iberoamérican Images: The State of the Art” presents nine recent works.

“Iberoamérican Images” began with a week-long run of the remarkable Magic Words (Breaking a Spell), a poetic rendering of Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution and its fallout.

Other strong series entries include The Mute, a darkly comic saga of a paranoid Peruvian judge evading assassination, and The Golden Dream, a drama that shows three Guatemalan teens striving to escape to the north.

The excellent Ibermedia film The Delay is a long-gestating coproduction. Its director, Rodrigo Plá, moved at age nine from Uruguay to Mexico, where he has spent much of his life. The idea for his third feature came from a real-life Mexican incident that his wife, fellow Uruguayan émigrée Laura Santullo, first turned into a short story before working with him on a film adaptation transplanted to Montevideo.

The Delay details the struggles of middle-age seamstress María (played by Roxana Blanco) to care for three kids and her senile father, Agustín (Carlos Vallarino), whom she can’t afford to put in another home.

As the old man takes more to wandering outside unaccompanied, Maria dreams of getting rid of him, and then comes to regret her wish. Santullo’s story alternates between father’s and daughter’s first-person thoughts. Plá’s film captures both people alone and apart at night in the city, each lost without the other.