Estoril F.F.: Recha’s Petit Indi a boy unlike any other
by Elisa Cimino
After numerous shorts and five feature films, Catalan director Marc Recha will soon be back in theatres with Petit Indi [+see also:
film profile], an urban fairy tale that premiered at the latest Locarno Film Festival and is currently in competition at the Estoril Film Festival.
Arnaud (Marc Soto) is a simple, altruistic, sometimes naïve 17-yeare-old. He has no cell phone and doesn’t follow the latest fashions. He doesn’t spend his nights carousing with friends but prefers to isolate himself in a wooden shed in which he takes care of his beloved birds, including a prize-winning singing goldfinch, or other animals in need of care.
Arnaud doesn’t correspond to the clichés of today’s youths and goes decidedly against the tide of the prototypes of teenagers recently and realistically depicted in European films. He’s very different from Riad Sattouf’s entertaining Beaux Gosses [+see also:
film profile] (literally, good-looking kids, also in competition at Estoril), struggling with exploding hormones. He is not a sentimental hero (à la Federico Moccia’s Amore 14 [+see also:
film profile], for example), nor in a adolescent crisis or searching for his identity (such as the characters in Shane Meadows’ Somers Town [+see also:
film profile] or Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park [+see also:
Rather, Recha’s anti-hero is reminiscent of Ken Loach’s unfortunate characters or Samuel Collardey’s The Apprentice [+see also:
film profile] (for his dedication to animals and his strong will), even though here there is not the silence of the countryside but the dusty, rowdy streets of the Barcelona outskirts, amid urban decay, high-tension wires and highway ramps, in which many seem to live at the margins of poverty.
Arnau lives with his sister Sole (Eulalia Ramón), Aranya and his brother Regis (Eduardo Noriega), when the latter isn’t "traveling around the world". Their mother has been in prison for years, while their father lives in Granada and could care less about his children. The family has little money and every month Arnaud gives a big chunk of his salary to his sister, who has become the head of the family.
Inspired by news of a prisoner’s release from jail through the help of a skilled lawyer, Arnaud is determined to save a large sum of money for a lawyer that will finally get their mother freed. To do so, he needs a second job and, tempted by his shady uncle Ramon (Sergi Lopez), tests the waters of dog race betting. Fortune doesn’t seem to smile on this little Indian, though, who is forced to compromise even more and to give up something truly important to him. But life is cruel and perhaps those like Arnaud are not allowed to dream.
The screenplay was written by the director and Nadine Lamari, DoP is Hélène Louvart, while the original score is by the director’s brother, Pau Recha. The Spanish/French Petit Indi was produced by Nico Villarejo Frakas (Noodles Productions) and Recha (El Vaqueret), and will be released in France by Ad Vitam on March 3, 2010.
(Translated from Italian)
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