Gente de Bien
A relative success at this year’s film festivals, Gente de Bien follows Eric, a ten-year-old boy whose mother entrusts him to the care of his down-at-heel yet goodhearted father, Gabriel. The confined and rustic conditions of their situation in downtown Bogota inspire tension between father and son, amplified further when Gabriel’s wealthy sister invites them to stay at her country house over Christmas.
In the same year as Richard Linklater’s superlative Boyhood, any natural realist film attempting to chart a young boy’s gradual development in the world is almost inevitably destined to pale by comparison. Be that as it may, this film makes a worthy attempt at exploring, with an admirable restraint and subtlety, Bogota society’s class disparities and the animosity that broils therein.
Unfortunately though, the film hinges around such deft observations while set at so meandering a pace that it is difficult to sustain genuine interest or emotional engagement. Although at times the strained father-son dynamic is reminiscent of the classic Bicycle Thieves, this is far too slight and incidental a film to warrant much attention.
Of course, the mandate for cinematic realism is the observation of events with as much adherence to naturalism as possible, devoid of any superfluous dramatic flourishes. Be that as it may, there is simply not enough substance or emotional foundation in Gente de Bien on which to build that naturalistic structure.
Gente de Bien is released nationwide on 17th April 2015.
Watch the trailer for Gente de Bien here: