Friday 21 June 2024

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Culture | IFFI

Summer 1993: Heartening tale of AIDS stigma


Summer of 1993 tells the coming of age story of Frida (Laia Artigas) a six year old girl who moves from the city of Barcelona to the countryside of Catalan to live with her uncle and aunt who are her legal guardians following the recent death of her mother. In a mysterious and intimidating new home she deals with problems that are beyond her naïve understanding.

The film unfolds at a leisurely pace giving a sense of the picturesque setting and also the tumultuous world of the character. Debutant writer director Carla Simon expertly weaves a narrative which balances the diverse themes of the film with a six year olds struggle. Neither does she emphasize excessively on the details of the conflict and nor does she force a resolution; the film from start to end remains the story of a summer vacation filled with adventures and misadventures. The other character that stands out is that is that of Frida’s aunt played by Bruna Cusi, a strict but loving new mother whom Frida naturally sees as a rival to her late biological mother. The relationship between the two remains at the heart of the film.

The film is filled with amazing moments, for instance one in which Frida grooms her face with a lipstick. This is a story that interweaves the stigmas around HIV-AIDS with a sibling jealousy. This is one of those heartening tales which achieve complete universality by digging deep into something very specific and simple. Simon delivers a heart-warming final scene which no one will expect, one that will make you wonder why this film is not there in the International competition section. Thankfully it will be screened again on 23rd November. This one is not be missed.


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