Cinema Tropical and FiGa Films present the US theatrical premiere of the acclaimed Venezuelan film Bad Hair / Pelo malo (pictured) by Mariana Rondón, beginning Wednesday, November 19 at the prestigious Film Forum in New York City.
A touching and humorous coming-of-gender story, Bad Hair chronicles the life of nine-year-old Junior, living in a bustling Caracas tenement with his widowed mother. Junior fears he has pelo malo – bad hair. For his school photo, he wants to iron his stubbornly curly mane straight to resemble one of his pop star idols. His mother, unemployed and frazzled from the pressures of raising two children in an unforgiving city, has serious mis-givings; she suspects her son is gay. Grandma is more accepting, teaching Junior to dance to her favorite ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll tunes.
Writer-director Mariana Rondón grounds her film in the cultural realities of working-class Venezuela – and, by dint of two remarkable performances, finds warmth and humor between mother and son, even as the uncertainties of pre-adolescence threaten to pull them apart. Samuel Lange as the mischievous, incipiently stylish Junior is a wonder to behold: whether arguing with adults, hanging out with his chubby gal-pal, or admiring his newly straightened hair. The rest of the cast exude believability as well as poignancy, emotional depth, and joie de vivre.
The film became the first Venezuelan film ever to win Best Film Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and it's won more than a dozen directing, acting, and screenwriting awards at festivals throughout the world. The film will have a two-week engagement at Film Forum followed by other engagements and screening across the U.S.