You’ve probably noticed that bemoaning the lack of cinema release for certain outstanding films is a recurring theme in this column, so here’s a change of tune. One of the year’s loveliest arthouse releases did in fact get a big-screen UK airing back in the spring, courtesy of plucky indie distributor Day for Night. Still, if you didn’t see or hear of Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor’s richly evocative growing-up study Too Late to Die Young, that’s understandable. It was in a handful of cinemas, and, the market being what it is, didn’t stick around for long.
Thankfully, Mubi.com is offering its subscribers a second chance to catch up with the film, as well as with Sotomayor’s earlier work. Just three films in and she’s already among the most exciting and distinctive talents in South American cinema. Too Late to Die Young (not to be confused with Nicolas Winding Refn’s grisly-gorgeous TV series Too Old to Die Young, streaming on Amazon) went up on Mubi early last week and is probably the best place to start, being Sotomayor’s most fully realised and widely seen work to date. Prior to its UK release, it competed for best film at the London film festival and won her best director at Locarno.
Film - Genre - Sotomayor - B1985 - Term
It’s a coming-of-age film – a saturated genre, admittedly, though Sotomayor (b1985) takes the term more literally and specifically than most. Rather than a generic adolescent story, Too Late to Die Young offers an exacting, sensuous look at the precise, awkward bridging point between overgrown childhood and unknowing adulthood, tracing the curdling impulses of youth and maturity in its 16-year-old protagonist with compassion and humour.
The lives in focus aren’t exactly normal ones. Sofia (the enchanting Demian Hernández) lives with her father in an isolated rural commune. It’s 1990, in the immediate aftermath of Pinochet’s...
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