Señoritas Lina Rodriguez
Published Aug 21, 2014Senoritas, the debut feature from Colombian-raised, Toronto-based filmmaker Lina Rodriguez is an angry, unhappy being-of-age film. Composed of a series of mundane vignettes, the film offers a bleak assessment of the wasted space occupied by a group of 20-something middle class Bogotans. Chief among them is Alejandra (María Serrano), a veritable blank of a young woman, utterly unsure of herself, of who she is, of what she might become. By night she drinks and dances, makes out with young men and, in one (impressively tense) instance, becomes concerned about her personal safety. By day she hangs out, walks around, drinks juice, talks about random stuff with her vapid friends. No one seems to work, nothing seems to matter all that much. Everyone is unhappy.
These are disengaged, indifferent, unencumbered people. To further underline their relentless failure to connect with the outside world, Rodriguez keeps her camera trained so tightly upon her characters that it feels at times claustrophobic. Only they are in focus, all else is an unknowable blur. All that they, and we, can see is themselves. Sex is often discussed, but never (as far as we can tell) had. Childhood is recalled with nostalgia, but only because it was a time before all this dullness. In other words: if you tend to believe that modern youth culture is empty, vain, monotonous and unremittingly self-centred, this film's for you.
But, while this may be an interesting idea (debatable as its politics may be), in execution the result is tedium, a kind of anti-entertainment. It is, finally, pretty boring to watch boring people be bored in a mere 20 scenes with almost no edits over 90 minutes. Watch as Alejandra cuts up a melon. Watch as she puts on makeup. Watch as she ignores her mother. Watch as she and her friends debate insipid things. Watch as she masturbates. Watch as she walks down the street for like five minutes. Watch as she suntans. Watch as she tries on clothes with a friend. Watch as she rides silently in the back seat of a cab. Watch as she goes for another walk.