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pelo malo ( bad hair )

Mariana Rondón | 2013 | O.V. Spanish | S.T. French | Venezuela | 93min | color

Synopsis :

The «bad hair» of the film’s title belongs to Junior, a lanky kid who has unfortunately — as he sees it — inherited the curly locks of his mysteriously absent father. The scene is Venezuela, in an Eastern bloc-style housing project on the outskirts of a big city. Junior lives here with his mother and baby brother. His most heartfelt wish is for his school photo to make him look like a «straight-haired singer.» His role models are the small-time Brylcreemed thugs of the neighbourhood and the inaccessible beauty queens he sees on television. The parallel worlds of children and adults stare each other down across a gully of discord. From a backdrop of dull violence emerges a mother-son relationship imbued with menacing innuendo and taboos. Rightly or wrongly, Junior feels deprived of affection and rebels constantly against the only authority figure he knows: his beleaguered, overburdened and lonely mother. Their seemingly banal argument over hair-straightening comes to represent the entire expanse of their conflict. Family, heritage, sexual identity: Mariana Rondón manipulates them all deftly into a complex and compelling coming of age tale, blending the social and intimate. Authentic and profoundly disturbing.