X500 (Juan Andres Arango) Review

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Por Sandra M. Ríos (@sandritmarios)

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Yesterday X500 won the Audience Award at Lefko International Film Festival in Greece and this weekend opens in some theaters in Colombia.

Juan Andres Arango has released his second feature film – after his debut with “La Playa DC” that was exhibited in “Uncertain Regard” in Cannes 2012 -, where he shows us another story about young boys, an urban story that talks about displacement and the necessity to claim a space into an external environment.

But if there are common elements with his debut, the approach is different and director has involved more complexities. On X500 the story is more universal, finally it follows three teenage characters who live in three different American countries. They don’t meet each other, but they have in common their transformation process after a loss. Everyone should travel to other regions after the death of a loved one.

Maria is a Filipina girl who arrives to grandmother’s home in Montreal because her mother has died. Alex is an Afro-Colombian who returns to Buenaventura after his brother and a partner die in L.A. David is a Mazahua indigenous who moves to Mexico City escaping from his pain when his father died.

With these three stories, with a parallel narrative that happen from dissimilar places; marginal areas and popular suburbs from a developed and emerging countries, we can see how themes like mourning, uprooting and immigration have the same features whatever the scenario.

The characters face the same process and difficulties to the time to fit into an environment. It can change the lingo, customs and methods, but at the end, everyone understand that to fix in a society there is a loss of identity, but at same time, everyone understand their roots and what they really are. Finally, the fate of these characters is very different. Here is the strength of this film whose story is slow with a passive pace as going against the usual young energy, but of course, these characters have a hard problem and they need to solve it in order to move on with their lives.

X500, a confusing title, is well narrated, dosing its plot so we don’t lose the interest for these three boys. Cinematography and camara are decisive on this. Camara keeps floating very close to them and showing just the necessary spaces that surround them with the intention to justify some situation they are living in. On the other hand, cinematography is camouflaged in each space to adapt to their environment and makes it most vivid and real.

Director Juan Andres Arango has also shown a good ability to keep the story with non-professional actors, something that is very common in Colombian new cinema wave, but it is very difficult to get, specially, to the time to relay organic dialogues.

Additional information: X500 is the name of a small village in Yucatan, Mexico.

Cast & Crew

  • Director: Juan Andres Arango
  • Genre: Drama
  • Screenplay: Juan Andres Arango
  • Running Time: 108 minutes
  • Cast: Jonathan Díaz Angulo, Bernardo Garnica Cruz, Jembie Almazan
  • Edition: Felipe Guerrero
  • Sound Design: Christian Rivest
  • Direction of Art: Laura Nhem, Juan David Bernal, Claudio Contreras
  • Cinematography: Nicolás Canniccioni, Vincent Bironar
  • Musical Supervisor: Paulina Márquez, Nancy Marcotte
  • Country: Colombia
  • Year: 2017

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