The latest domestic study from Lina Rodriguez (Señoritas) tenderly circles an absence. After an opening that invites us to regard, at some length, a tree, Rodriguez presents a series of sharply observed moments in the life of a middle-class Bogotá family, often in unbroken shots in which silence — sometimes companionable, sometimes fraught — is allowed to stretch between the characters. Like real kids, rebellious teen daughter Adelaida (Laura Osma) alternates between a pitiless selfishness and a sneaky sweetness, visiting abuse or kisses upon her parents based on whichever approach will help her get her way. Mother Lena (Maruia Shelton), a party planner, and father Francisco (Francisco Zaldua), an art teacher, strive to maintain their authority in the face of Adelaida’s squalls, but you can see how the effort taxes them. Rodriguez shows us the parents out with friends and celebrating a birthday at home; sometimes we see Adelaida out with her younger set, talking sex and making out. Most memorable are the glimpses of life at its most mundane: Lena and Adelaida navigating around each other in the family’s small bathroom as they prep for their days, their silent awareness of each other touchingly routine. Halfway through the film, we discover that something awful has happened to this family, and suddenly frames that have been alive with three characters now seem depleted with only two. This Time Tomorrow’s significant power comes from watching the survivors slowly fill the screen — and their lives — back up again.
This Time Tomorrow
Written and directed by Lina Rodriguez
Opens August 4, Metrograph
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 1, 2017