DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Thread of Return (Hilo de Retorno)

Director - Erwin Goggel - 2020

"Dirty gem"
A quiet and reticent teen returns to her tragic and painful roots, in Colombian film bursting with authenticity and a peculiar vintage feel - from the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM TALLINN

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this film was made 40 years ago. Not only the story seems to take place in the 1980s, but also the highly grainy and saturated images look like they were taken straight from a movie of the same decade. The cars, the clothes and the songs are reminiscent of a recent past that Colombia would rather forget, when extreme violence was the country’s main currency.

This is not a political movie. There is no reference to the Colombian government, to the drug trade, to the the cartels and to the Farcs, except for a quick mention of a non-specific armed struggle. This is not a thriller, either, despite the graphic violence. Instead, this is a psychological drama with abundant sentiment, colour and flare. It follows the shy Marina (Paola Baldión). She rarely utters a full sentence, instead communicating with her fearful pearly eyes. She lives with her brutal and vicious grandfather in the slums of Bogota. One day, a freak accident claims the life of her grandfather as well as their impoverished abode, in one of the film’s most impressive scenes.

Marina then meets up with her cousin Jairo, who is slightly older and far more extroverted. Despite their very different personalities, they trust each other and bond. The two young relatives embark on a journey to Marina’s birth village in order to retrieve some property deeds belonging to their late relative, and to claim their inheritance. At first, the journey is pleasant and smooth. They dance the local Fandango, drink and befriend the locals, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. An old friend called Clemencia tries to warn Marina of the imminent perils, but it’s already too late.

What follows is a mixture of memories from the past (which explain Marina’s laconic attitude) and various unfortunate twists of fate. Two further scenes deserve a special mention (without going into their conjecture so I don’t spoil the movie for you): a bloodbath in the woods and vultures inside the hospital. The violence is so credible you can almost feel the blood splatter on your face. The young actors are overflowing with emotion. This violence is graphic yet never glamourised. This is a tasteful and authentic movie, which never slips into fetishism and exploitation. Credit must also go to the closing tune, when a sorrowful female warble offers closure to our equally tormented protagonist.

On the other hand, this is not a movie without imperfections. The script isn’t entirely auspicious, and some of the loose threads just don’t tie together. For example, I’m not entirely sure how a photo shoot sequence (with a beach painted in the background) fits into the narrative, and I was also a little confused about Clemencia’s role in the beginning of the movie. Don’t worry, this won’t ruin your viewing. At a taut 82 minutes, Thread of Return provides audiences with a memorable and gripping experience.

Thread of Return has just premiered at the 24th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, which is taking place right now.



"Dirty gem"

By Victor Fraga - 26-11-2020

By Victor Fraga - 26-11-2020

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]

Read More

Second Thoughts (Ich Ich Ich)

Zora Rux
2021

Justin Khoo - 16-10-2021

A failed marriage proposal stunt unleashes a number of unexpected events on a young German couple, in this exquisite debut feature - from the Raindance Film Festival [Read More...]

Benedetta

Paul Verhoeven
2021

Dan Meier - 15-10-2021

Talk about a dirty movie; sex and violence abound in Paul Verhoeven’s lesbian nun odyssey, loosely based on a real-life story - from the BFI London Film Festival [Read More...]

First-time directors: the nascent talent set to shine next month in Tallinn!

 

Redmond Bacon - 15-10-2021

Ahead of the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn between November 12th and 28th, we survey the return of the excellent first feature competition [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *