Toronto-based Colombian-Canadian filmmaker Lisa Rodriguez gives a glimpse into a middle-class Bogotà family leading an uneventful life until tragedy strikes, unsettling their relationships and routines in her film This Time Tomorrow.
The Screening Room, an independent movie theatre in downtown Kingston, shows a staff pick every month. This month is a Latin film from Bogotà, Colombia that deals with universal issues regarding a family that transcends time and place.
Family life is one of the most important facets of the day-to-day relationships that influence many of our lives; it’s a constant push and pull that results in beautiful and dreadful moments. Through the story and film script, cinematography and the use of time and audio in This Time Tomorrow, Rodriguez achieves an authentic depiction of this tumultuous territory.
The story features the family’s mundane everyday events and conversations that seem trivial in the greater sense of one’s life. But these trivial interactions, like going for ice cream or watching a movie together, become treasured memories for the family members — while their petty disagreements become unforgivable battles.
Throughout the film, there’s a sense of “what will be, will be” as the scenes move from heated arguments to civil tea time. The timing is blurred as we transition from a disagreement to a comforting scene between parent and child. We don’t know how they were able to reconcile; we only learn that life goes on.
The banal moments on the screen force viewers to cherish and reflect on the subtle moments of how our relationships develop through resilience in times of hardship and in continuing to appreciate what and who you have around you.
This Time Tomorrow is visual poetry, using cinematography to reflect the connections between characters and nature throughout. The film opens with a long shot of ceaseless trees echoed in the closing shot of clouds strolling across the sky, both stretching on for what seems like forever on screen time. The film is shot with handheld cameras that provide an intimate way of observing the family’s private life that is reminiscent of cinema vérité, the style of documentary filmmaking that embeds the camera in the action on screen.
The characters are shown in medium to close-up shots that force viewers to focus on their expressions, while most of the film is confined to the family’s home— this visual constraint reflecting the theme of emotional repression throughout the film. Through Rodriguez’s welcoming invitation, the audience becomes privy to what may not be candidly actualized on a typical screen.
Time and sound, or lack thereof, are also important themes throughout the film.
Silence is utilized brilliantly in moments of intimacy most notable when the mother and daughter are cleaning the bathroom together. The silence in this scene, amongst others, suggests a sense of peace and repose while also doubling to suggest the inner tensions the characters are battling within.
There is an optimism in the title that suggests an infinite unpredictability with life that we can learn from the film: the only constant is change.
The family’s quiet life resulted in a slow-paced film that can only be relished with patience and understanding.
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