The Sharks


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Sharks
"Tightly structured and well-shot" | Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Uruguayan writer/director Lucia Garibaldi's feature-length debut is part of this year's shoal of coming-of-age movies - premiering at Sundance and screening, most recently in the Horizontes Latinos section at San Sebastian.

Garibaldi sets out the wilful nature of her protagonist from the start, as 14-year-old Rosina (Romina Benacur) is seen striding for the beach, her father trailing in her wake. In the sea, she spots the fin of a shark - a sighting that helps fuel rumours of a predator at large among the fisherman around her faded beach town and that marks a metaphor that will swim through the rest of the film.

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Rosina is a chilly anti-hero, who has injured her sister in what she claims is "an accident", but which her later scheming suggests may just be the answer that her parents are more comfortable with. When she begins to feel the spark of attraction for one of her father's workers, Joselo (Federico Moresini) - who she is gardening alongside as part of a summer job - the connection is never more than cool. But her apparent impassivity in the face of Joselo's initial interest in her, morphs into something much more calculating when he fails to share her fascination.

Tightly structured and well-shot by Germán Nocella in ways that emphasise Rosina's isolation, its easy to see how the youngster is so alone with her thoughts that it's perhaps no wonder that they take a turn for the sinister. But this same sense of aloofness proves problematic in terms of character development, with Rosina having such a glassy surface that it's hard for us to connect with anything below it. Joselo would also benefit from being considerably more well-realised in terms of his motivations. The film is a trim 80-minutes but despite Garibaldi's strong control of craft, it feels like an exercise caught between the tautness of a short film that could get away without probing its characters too deeply and a longer film with a better developed psychology. Despite creating a moody sense of danger, Garibaldi leaves us fishing for more.

Reviewed on: 03 Oct 2019
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The Sharks packshot
While a rumour about the presence of sharks in a small beach town distracts residents, 14-year-old Rosina begins to feel an instinct to shorten the distance between her body and Joselo's.

Director: Lucía Garibaldi

Writer: Lucía Garibaldi

Starring: Romina Bentancur, Federico Morosini, Fabián Arenillas, Valeria Lois, Antonella Aquistapache

Year: 2019

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Uruguay, Argentina, Spain

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