Review: The Summer of the Electric Lion (2019 Sundance Film Festival)

Title: The Summer of the Electric Lion
Rating: NR
Director: Diego Cespedes
Starring: Lan Fa Salas, Gaspar Santibanez, Roxana Naranjo
Runtime: 22 mins

What It Is: Eleven-year-old Alonso grows anxious when tradition comes for his sister, seventeen-year-old Daniela. Their mother prepares her to be the seventh girl to wed a middle-aged “prophet”, ie “The Lion,” in their small one-track-minded community. Alonso attempts at saving Daniela from being taken away to a life of wifely (and motherly) duties she clearly does not want to live.

What We Think: This is a story and a concept that feels perfectly suited to being a short film. Strong in that it is to the point and is able to deliver important messages and realistic characters, this short film is worth your twenty-two minutes. It is likely something you would see be featured in Short of the Week. This short is a quietly tense and sad world that the lively child characters to live in, surrounded by strange adults molded by a cultish mindset and, in that, it’s a terrifying situation to be in as a child. That’s certainly illustrated here, is the helplessness you feel like a child. The acting is perfect: naturalistic and believable, sprinkled with some small, powerful moments ranging from uplifting to uncomfortable. The camerawork and editing are simple yet effective.

Our Grade: B, This film is a lovely and tragic showcase of brotherly / sibling love and what it is like to be a child facing the insanity of the adult world (in this case, a more extreme congregation). Make sure to give this melancholic piece a peep.

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Chai Simone Written by: