Monday, March 11, 2024

Sujo (2024) First Look Fest 2024

Father and son

Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez the team behind one of 2020's best films IDENTIFYING FEATURES return with SUJO the story of one young man's potential slide into oblivion.

The plot of the film concerns a young man named Sujo. He is the son of a cartel hit man who is left orphaned when his father is gunned down. He moves in with an aunt who lives like a hermit. However, because Sujo is a growing boy life has its pull and it seems as though he may be headed for a life in the cartels that destroyed his father.

A quiet and haunting film SUJO is a very good follow up to Rondero and Valadez's IDENTIFYING FEATURES. That film, about a mother's search for the son that crossed into the US, was the first film in 2020 to kick my ass. It was a powerful film I desperately tried to get people to see at Sundance and New Directors New Films. With SUJO the  ladies have made a film that is equally haunting.

Mixing a cinematic reality with a hint of something more SUJO is a film very much about life and fate. There is a mystical side to things such as when the deceased father of Sujo appears to his sister in law. We are in a definite place where things beyond the normal can and do happen. This is not to suggest this is a haunted film, rather one where spiritual things do exist.

The cast is across the board wonderful. Watching them there is a very real sense that they are drawing from their lives. As a result we are carried along by their truth no matter what happens.

If I maybe allowed to quibble with SUJO it would be to say that the film meanders a bit. There were a couple of times, in particular in the first half, where the pacing seems slack. My attention drifted. I came back around and the film still kicked my butt, however I still think if the film was a couple minutes shorter it would have had a bigger punch.

Quibble aside, SUJO  is a haunting film.  See it when it plays near you.

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