Summer of Goliath, the evocative fourth feature from Toronto resident Nicolás Pereda, fuses fiction and documentary filmmaking to create a wholly original work.
It is summer in Huilotepec, a rural community in the Mexican countryside, where a placid atmosphere belies the intrigues stirring among the townspeople. Teresa is convinced that her husband has left her for another woman. Her son, Gabino (a nuanced performance by Gabino Rodríguez), is in the military and spends his time conducting car searches with fellow soldier Alberto. Since very few cars pass their way, they spend most of their time harassing locals. Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Oscar – nicknamed Goliath – lives the life of a social outcast because the word is he killed his girlfriend.
Although the town enjoys a beautiful setting, an oppressive atmosphere of solitude and suspicion hangs over its residents. Fathers abandon their families, work is hard to come by (an elderly woman futilely sells catalogue articles that no one will buy), and the military intimidates rather than protects. Worse, unexplained deaths remain shrouded in mystery and rumours abound.
To help illuminate this squalid environment, Pereda constructs a narrative using both interviews and dramatizations. He enlivens the story with sudden scenes of comedy in which characters confront various absurdities. At times, the performers are subjects in a documentary; at others, they are characters in fiction. Through this inspired blurring of real and imaginary, Pereda does more than simply tell a story – he allows us emotional insight into a fascinating community. After all, reality is merely a perspective.
Playing with audience perception, the film’s unusual construction elicits the mood and culture of small-town Mexico, producing a truly visceral experience. –TIFF
A rising star of contemporary Mexican cinema, Nicolás Pereda (b. 1982) is a central figure in a diverse group of Ibero-American directors whose innovative approaches to narrative filmmaking over the last ten years have together defined one of the most exciting trends in world cinema. Pereda’s films are resolutely Mexican in focus and almost exclusively deal with stories drawn directly from the everyday lives and worlds of their working-class characters. Yet the careful, often enigmatic minimalism embraced by Pereda’s films – equally through their fractured and elliptical narratives as their preference for extended sequence shots – is best understood in the context of similarly ambitious filmmaking practices explored by influential artists such as Portugal’s Pedro Costa and Argentina’s Lisandro Alonso. Indeed, like Costa’s pioneering trilogy of films set in Lisbon’s Fontainhas district and featuring a cast of non-professional actors drawn from its inhabitants, Pereda’s work intertwines… read more
A mi parecer, una película bastante forzada. Sentí muy fingidas y fuera de contexto las metáforas visuales que intenta incluir el director, tan sólo para agregar un aparente profundidad que no está allí.
el mejor cineasta mexicano menor de 30 años (y en una de esas, hasta latinoamericano).
For Chris Cabin, writing in Slant, "Watching the near-mystical images that litter Mexican-born Nicolás Pereda's doc/narrative hybrid