[This originally appeared on www.moviewallas.com]
THURSDAY TILL SUNDAY (DE JUEVES A DOMINGO), by first time director Domingo Sotomayor Castillo is a Chilean film that is constructed almost entirely from the unsaid, the perceived, the things lurking just outside the reach of what is literally seen. It is an immersive experience. Nominally, the film covers a road trip taken by a couple, their daughter, and young son over four days.
The movie is seen for the most part through the eyes of the teenaged daughter. Approaching neorealism, this is a work of stark austerity which may tempt a viewer to assign it hastily to the ignoble genre of films where ‘nothing happens’. The studiedly documentary feel, the naked abandon of traditional plotting, and the patient, unrushed lingering of the camera over these four characters, may unsettle at first. But stop trying to deduce the film on a minute by minute basis, settle into its rhythms, and see how it will breathe alongside you. This is a film that trusts the intelligence of the viewer enough to not provide easy, obvious answers. And demands that the viewer bring their own experiences to glean what they will from this story.
Slowly the cracks in the relationships come into focus, sometimes ever so briefly. And one begins to comprehend that the entire film might be a hazy recollection, an evocation of a child’s earliest memory of the first sign of the dissolution of their parents’ marriage. The movie deftly evokes a sense of nostalgia – for a time when being a child meant not having the tools to decipher what the behavior of adults signified.
The young daughter is never precocious, or all knowing, and the actor who plays her (Santi Ahumada) brings an effortless naturalism that belies any knowledge of a camera being around her, and captures all the complexities of being a teenager: distracted, self-involved, impatient – but, always well-meaning. In the Q and A after the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival where the film screened in 2012, the director revealed that the four-year old who played the younger brother was obviously not up to acting in the traditional sense, and the other actors learned to ad-lib and work around his natural behavior on camera. No wonder the film evokes a feeling of purity about it.
The wonderful, deeply meditative THURSDAY TILL SUNDAY screening at the Digital Gym Cinema in San Diego. Any lover of cinema owes themselves a viewing of this film.