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It Runs in the Family

Country: Dominican Republic, Language: Spanish, 90 mins

Original Title

Lo que se hereda
  • Director: Victoria Linares Villegas
  • Writer: Victoria Linares Villegas
  • Producer: Ludmila Doller, Victoria Linares Villegas, Wendy Muniz, Marissa Rodriguez, Oz Rodriguez, Guillermo Zouain

CGiii Comment

There's nothing quite like a bit of vicarious self-reflection...

Like all memories, they are subject to embellishment and/or deprecation as time marches on...Victoria Linares Villegas attempts to halt that deterioration, face the facts and present them as they now are...and, in doing so, she transfers herself into the story and it all becomes a bit of a vanity project.

Had the filmmaker not been distantly related to her subject...then, this is a film that would never have been made. This is a personal portrait, drawn rather sketchily with those vicarious overtones...there's too much waffle and not enough detail. Self-indulgence is never far away.

Bringing melodrama into a documentary is - quite frankly - bizarre and frustrating. “My memories of my childhood are disappearing,” states the director [and she's only in her 20s]...whoopie-do, that's what happens, memory is not infinite.

But...the drawing of parallels between herself and her [distant] relative [who died decades before she was born] is ludicrous. She has not been erased as - allegedly - her relative had been...there's a big difference between forgetting and erasure! Then [and, in many countries, still now] anti-governmental politics and homosexuality are two things that guarantee serious trouble...Oscar Torres probably fled for his life, for a better life. The director calls it familial erasure...we call it, wise flight [aka: emigration].

Less about the 'me' and more about the 'him' - may have yielded a far more interesting film.


The(ir) Blurb...

Oscar Torres is known as one of the earliest Dominican filmmakers who, during the vicious dictatorship of Trujillo, fled to Cuba to make powerful socialist films. So why has Victoria Linares only just discovered that she’s related to him and why does Torres appear so absent from the family’s archive? As she investigates the life of her cousin, she’s dismayed to learn that every trace of him has been removed from family records. Using home movies, extracts from Oscar’s films, the re-staging of his un-filmed work and creatively recreated conversations with those who knew him, Victoria pieces together the extraordinary life of a queer filmmaker, and begins to re-evaluate her own past and place in her family.

Grace Barber-Plentie