Eye For Film >> Movies >> Welcome Back (2020) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
For the country expelling people, deportation may end at the door of a plane but, as Tiffany Kontoyiannis-Guillen's short goes on to show, that can be just the beginning of a nightmare scenario for the deported.
She examines the problem through the prism of Rosa (Joselyn Gallardo) and her daughter Sophia (Marina Lalama Noboa), who are being sent back to Venezuela from the US after fleeing the country five years previously. As money exchanges hands and new identities are acquired, the only thought on Rosa's mind is to get them both out of the country again, this time to Colombia, helped by her sister (Diana Abouijian). Rooting the story in a family set-up allows Kontoyaiannis-Guillen to establish relationships and emotions quickly - a secret gesture between mum and daughter quickly becoming pivotal.
There is a tendency, however, to try to push the emotional buttons too hard elsewhere, particularly in a car ride from the airport, where every glimpse out of the window brings a fresh horror. While this is no doubt reflective of the many problems faced in Venezuela - a country three million have fled since 2014 - putting them all in one place like this feels forced and interrupts the more naturalistic flow of Becky Baihui Chen's camerawork elsewhere. Gallardo and Abouijian, meanwhile, are both well cast, with Abouijian's flamboyant portrayal of Rosa's sister contrasting nicely with the reserve of Rosa.
Kontoyiannis-Guillen also makes good use of dual conflict - between mother and her daughter, who is struggling to cope with such a major shift in circumstance, and the sense of threat on the ground in Venezuela - to build the tension, which delivers a hard-hitting pay off.Reviewed on: 21 Oct 2020