Country: Venezuela / others
Movie Review: Set in a decadent neighborhood in Venezuela, “Bad Hair” tells the story of Junior (Samuel Lange Zambrano), a sensitive nine-year-old mulatto who struggles with his ‘bad hair’, doing everything to stretch it and to dress up as a singer, just to have his school photo taken. This obsession with his hair, together with other no less important factors – carrying a hairpin, dancing in a different manner, or staring at a young man who often gives him matches – leave his widow mother, Marta (Samantha Castillo), in such a pile of nerves. She takes him to the doctor in order to understand what’s happening with her eldest son, the one she avoids to caress and share a tender moment. There’s an obvious detachment from Marta and a consequent rebellion of the kid who demands to be accepted as he is. The only one who seems to understand the boy is his paternal grandmother, Carmen (Nelly Ramos), who suggests that Marta’s baby child is not her son’s son, and keeps offering large sums of money to have Junior living with her, accepting the fact that he might be gay. However, the kid only wants to be with his mother and will do whatever it takes to get the love that Marta seems incapable of giving. The film takes considerable time shaping the resentful mother who tries to retrieve her job as security, after screwing up somehow, even if for that she has to have sex with her employer in front of Junior, who was supposedly asleep. The way the kid reproves his mother’s behavior is by casting her a look that makes her feel uncomfortable. The helmer, Mariana Rondon, not only uses efficacious establishing shots - of a neighborhood that fills the entire frame with degraded buildings, small balconies, clothes hung to dry, and neighboring activity - but also was very assertive in the way she structured and set up every strong scene. First-time actors, Castillo and Zambrano, give irreproachable performances, in a sad tale that doesn't feel disproportionate in regard to several real lives.