Runtime: 93 minutes
Director/Writer: Glorimar Marrero Sanchez
Actors: Isel Rodriguez, Modesto Lacen, Magali Carrasquillo, Idenisse Salaman, Anamin Santiago, Maximiliano Rivas
By Rosa Parra
This year’s Sundance Film Festival has an abundance of excellent Latin American movies. Puerto Rico’s representative is a perfect example, and boy does it leave an impact.
“La Pecera (The Fishbowl)” is written and directed by Glorimar Marrero Sánchez and stars Isel Rodríguez, Modesto Lacén, Magali Carrasquillo, Maximiliano Rivas, Anamin Santiago, and Idenisse Salaman. It follows Noelia (Rodríguez) who learns that her cancer has returned after being in remission.
Noelia is a woman who loves being in the water, whether it’s the ocean or a bathtub (hence, the title of the film). After being re-diagnosed with cancer, she returns to her mother’s home in her hometown, as an excuse to get breathing space from her partner who is constantly suffocating her. Plus, in our most vulnerable moments, we tend to go to what feels comfortable and familiar. This also provides the opportunity to use what time she has left to aid in the continued investigations and/or clean up the coasts of her hometown. Islands that were once used by the U.S. military to dispose of toxic materials.
Noelia has meditative moments of relaxation and dreamlike sequences. In what appears to be Noelia coming to terms with her prognosis, she begins to appreciate the small and mundane moments, admiring and finding the beauty in plants, horses, and even pieces of linen just hanging around the house. Latin American films distinguish themselves by portraying women as resilient and unapologetically themselves. This contemplative look at a woman nearing the end of her journey is portrayed with such finesse. There’s a beautiful shot where Noelia places her head out the window of a car and the aerial shot captures her vulnerability while simultaneously showing us the joy and fulfillment she enjoys by just feeling the breeze hit her face.
There are countless gorgeous and stunning shots of the beautiful scenery and the lovely Noelia. This brings me to the performance of Rodriguez, who breathes life to a versatile character as spellbinding, soft, vulnerable, resilient and stubborn. The relationship with her mother impacted me for mixed reasons. Mainly because the actress depicting her looks exactly like my ama, and those intimate mother and daughter scenes resonated deeply with me.
Overall, “La Pecera” is a thought-provoking look at a woman who comes to terms with her prognosis. Composed of various memorable sequences from a female perspective, this movie left me missing my mother while encouraging me to spend more time with loved ones because nobody knows how much time we have left on this planet.