Thursday Till Sunday, herald the arrival of one to watch. This is a young filmmaker with an uncannily precise sense of observation and an undeniably keen eye for composition (along with her cinematographer, Barbara Álvarez, who does a simply beautiful job).
That sensible car is soon toting a family of four on a long road trip that looks to be their last, as the parents are facing a separation. Somehow turning the claustrophobic setting of a mid-sized car into one beautifully framed shot after another, Sotomayor elegantly delineates the great divide that separates the driver’s seat of adulthood from the dependents forced to follow along—literally and figuratively taking a backseat to their parents’ personal agendas.
While each dusty mile rolls by along the tall spine of Chile, tensions ebb and flow, bumping up against boredom, wistfulness and sometimes joy. The children, a young girl and her kid brother, do the typical car-bound things: playing games, bickering, lolling and staring out at the landscape blurring by. Up front, the parents negotiate bruised feelings and test their tolerances moment to moment.
The young daughter, Lucía, played sublimely by first-time actress Santi Ahumada, is old enough to sense a ripple of discord between her mom and dad, but instinctively hesitates to absorb it. How is this hesitation revealed? With glances, pauses, silences and subtleties that speak volumes.
While stops along the road provide some expository elaborations, there is always an intoxicating artlessness afoot in the way the film looks, feels and sounds. In knowing exactly what to leave out, Sotomayor’s evocative minimalism feels like a curative. I can’t wait to see what she does next.