Today's Don't Miss: "Alamar"

But we had fish for dinner last night.
But we had fish for dinner last night.

Pedro González-Rubio's Alamar (To the Sea), looks like a travelogue about the world's second-largest coral reef, but the NBFF Latino Spotlight film actually uses a fictional human tale to expose audiences to Mexico's stunning Banco Chinchorro.

Jorge (Jorge Machado), an indigenous spear fisherman, reveals the set-up in a mock slide show he narrates at the opening: He fell in love with Roberta (Roberta Palombini), an Italian; they had a child, Natan (Natan Machado Palombini, the cutest kid in the world at the moment); and the couple grew unhappy together and with the idea of living anywhere but their respective homelands. But before Roberta takes Nathan with her back to Italy, the now 5-year-old will get one last long visit with his father. The crux of Alamar is Jorge using that precious time to connect his boy with his Mayan origins. So, through the eyes of a child, we learn about co-existing with a delicate ecosystem. Where Hollywood would sum this up in a quick montage set to ear-splitting music, González-Rubio lets the events play out slowly, like a home movie or mundane Gas Van Sant scene, accompanied only by the sound of nature. As father and son grow closer, the drama comes from their--and the audience's--sad realization that distance will bring unbearable pain, and paradise will become a prison cell.

Alamar screens at 7:30 tonight and 1 p.m. Wed. at Edwards Island Cinemas. Go here for ticket info.

Also recommended and playing today at NBFF: BoardHeads; Pelada; The Philosopher Kings; Red Bull Project X; Stagecoach; We Were Feared.

The long list (today's entries that sound promising): Bride Fight; Burzynski; The Great Contemporary Art Bubble; Greenlit; Machotaildrop; OCC Shorts; Solomon Kane; Somewhere Near Tapachula; World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements.

Theaters: Regency Lido Theatre, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach; Regency South Coast Village Theatre, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana; The Studio at Sage Hill School, 20402 Newport Coast Dr., Newport Beach. Visit newportbeachfilmfest.com for times, theaters and ticket information.


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