The sophomore feature by Colombian/Canadian filmmaker Lina Rodriguez (Senoritas) opens with a view of a majestic tree and closes with one of huge clouds floating across the sky. Each shot stretches on for minutes and seems to go on forever. These reminders of the permanence of nature serve as a marked contrast to the concerns of the characters depicted in This Time Tomorrow, which in the long run are fleeting at best.
The film, receiving its U.S. theatrical premiere at NYC’s Metrograph, depicts the lives of a middle-class Bogota family consisting of 17-year-old Adelaida (Laura Osma) and her parents Francisco (Francisco Zaldua), an art teacher, and Lena (Maruia Shelton), a party planner. Their interactions are of the ordinary, familiar variety, with Adelaida sometimes feisty and rebellious in the manner of a typical teen. But despite the inevitable tensions, the clan clearly represents a loving unit even when the parents are forced to discipline their daughter for the occasional infraction.
Photographed in long, unbroken takes using handheld cameras, the film examines its subjects with a clinical intimacy. Adelaida and her folks engage in small talk in the kitchen, have lengthy discussions about such subjects as taking out the garbage and huddle together in a single bed while watching television. Adelaida is shown hanging out with her friends, talking about sex (naturally) and making out in a club, while Lena and Francisco are seen socializing with their contemporaries. Many of the well-observed moments are of the silent variety, such as when Adelaida and her mother good-naturedly share a cramped bathroom. That the three central actors deliver performances of such verisimilitude adds to the overall effect.
And then, at roughly the film’s halfway point, tragedy strikes the family. What once was a close-knit group of three becomes two, and the painful emotional struggle that ensues serves as a vivid reminder not only of the fragility of life but also a familial structure that can suddenly be upended and leave the survivors emotionally adrift.
This Time Tomorrow, the title of which suggests a certainty that life has a way of proving misplaced, requires patience of the viewer. Its low-key, naturalistic style may prove frustrating for those accustomed to faster pacing and more overt drama. But in its own quiet way, the film makes its points with a shattering emotional power. A slice of life, to be sure, but a rich slice indeed.
Production company: Rayon Vert in association with Santas Producciones
Distributor: Rayon Vert
Cast: Laura Osma, Maruia Shelton, Francisco Zaldua, Clara Monroy, Catalina Cabra, Francisco Restrepo
Director-screenwriter: Lina Rodriguez
Producers-editors: Brad Deane, Lina Rodriguez
Director of photography: Alejandro Coronado
Production designer-costume designer: Iris Ocampo Maya