16 noviembre 2016


ALBA, an 11 year old girl, has to move to her father's house due to her mother's illness. She barely knows him and sharing time with him at home feels weird. Both are shy, both feel lonely but they can't find a way to approach each other.
Production companies: Caleidoscopio Cine, Leyenda Films, Graal Films
Cast: Macarena Arias, Pablo Aguirre, Amaia Merino
Director-screenwriter: Ana Cristina Barragan
Producers: Isabella Parra, Ramiro Ruiz, Rena Vougioukalou, Konstantina Stavrianou
Director of photography: Simon Brauer
Production designer: Oscar Tello
Costume designer: Ana Poveda
Editors: Yibran Asuad, Juan Daniel Molero, Ana Cristina Barragan, Jose Maria Aviles
Casting directors: Maya Villacreses, Julia Silva, Raul Teba
Sales: Caleidoscopio Cine

Alba is an 11-year-old girl with a very sick mother. She’s quiet, caring and resilient, but gets shunned at school and doesn’t have many friends. When her mum’s situation worsens, Alba is sent to live with her estranged father, an odd loner of a man. This marks the start of a difficult journey of maturity for the young girl, as her problems with her parents have to contend with the first symptoms of her fast-approaching teenage years: boys, other girls and bewildering bodily changes. Alba is writer / director / editor Ana Cristina Barragán’s second feature credit as writer, but first as director and her first international hit (the film played at Rotterdam earlier this year). It showcases her skills as a clearly very talented cinematic storyteller, subtly taking us into Alba’s world and letting us see things from her perspective. The film is wonderfully captured with cinematographer Simon Brauer, smartly edited by Barragán and boasts a stand-out debut performance from young Macarena Arias as the titular character.

"Alba is a film developed with help from various film festival schemes as a first feature by Ecuadorian director Ana Cristina Barragán. She had previously made two well-received short films and this enabled her to attract two pairs of producers from Mexico and Greece who helped to make the film a success at festivals in Rotterdam and San Sebastian as well as Chicago, Mumbai and Lima. I haven’t seen a debutant film as fine as this for a long time. Despite sometimes employing the dreaded Steadicam and shallow focus at times, the CinemaScope frame is used by cinematographer Simon Brauer for lovely compositions which tell us a great deal in a film with less dialogue than usual given the shyness of both Alba and her father. The details are very well worked into the narrative and I would enjoy watching the film again to pick up what I might have missed first time round. Macarena Arias as Alba is fantastic. Like the young actor in La Madre, she has the kind of face that can be switch from vulnerable child to serious young adult and can be revealed as just as pretty as the privileged girls when dressed up for a party. Pablo Aguirre Andrade as Igor is also very good. I thought he seemed familiar and now I realise he was in the youth picture María y el Araña which screened at ¡Viva! in 2015 (and which I also liked very much)."