Julio Hernández Cordón, Mexico, 2018
What a great little film! We’re in a post-apocalyptic lawless Mexico, run by violent drug gangs and the women have all left.
Our heroine is Huck, a 9 year old girl being raised by her crack-addicted father in an atmosphere so hostile she is often chained so she doesn’t get stolen, wears a mask to hide the fact she is a girl, has a friend who’s had an arm cut off for stealing…
The kids have all gone a bit feral, in survival mode but they’re still kids who like to play – I would have liked to have spent more screen time hanging out with them. We’re rooting for these tough little cookies in this loveless world. The gang of 3 boys wear a load of dried grass on their backs as camouflage, so they can curl up like a stone on the ground and not be noticed; they get pissed on at one point. In the end, Huck (like her namesake Huck Finn) survives, victorious, and you know she’ll be OK.
There were some excellent visual touches, too. Filming from high above, the dead bodies all become 2D cardboard replicas. When the dad gets high, he blows purple smoke from his trumpet (literally).
Luckily, it had English subtitles. The Mexican slang would have completely bamboozled me.