Discovery

Semana Santa

Alejandra Márquez Abella

In this poignant debut, a young widow’s attempt to bond with both her eight-year-old son and her new boyfriend on a beach vacation becomes a strained exercise in isolation and longing.

All-inclusive resorts promise an extravagant break from daily life, yet the obligation to enjoy oneself can be oppressive — to say nothing of the 24/7 proximity to family members. This is just what Dali (Anajosé Aldrete) discovers in Alejandra Márquez Abella's poignant debut, Semana Santa, when she takes her eight-year-old son on a beach vacation with her new boyfriend.

Dali hopes that the trip to one of Mexico's paradise-like beaches will provide a respite from their worries and woes — but the resort has seen better days, and as they all cram into a small room, thoughts of the outside world begin once more to weigh on them. Dali's son Pepe (Esteban Ávila) feels nostalgic for his deceased father. Her handsome beau, Chavez (Tenoch Huerta), can barely enjoy himself, growing more and more tense as the funds he was counting on to pay for this getaway are repeatedly delayed. And Dali, though happy to finally be with her son — who has been living with his grandmother in the wake of his father's death — finds that her own grief makes it difficult for her to engage. As the relationship among the three becomes progressively strained, they each set off on separate adventures that underline the disjointed nature of this new family unit.

Filled with moments of sorrow and nostalgia, as well as humour and tenderness, Semana Santa illustrates the conundrum life often presents: being surrounded by beauty sometimes makes our melancholy more pronounced.

A memorable evocation of longing and memory, Márquez Abella's film plunges us into the deep mysteries of the human heart.

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