93 minutes, Peru-Venezuela-Argentina-Germany, 2013, Subtitled Colour, D-Cinema

This film was released on Friday 13th February 2015 and is no longer screening.


Junior (Samuel Lange) is 9 years old, living in a deprived district of Caracas with his infant brother and their mother Marta (Samantha Castillo). Marta is trying to make ends meet cleaning the home of rich people, but she has been laid off from a prized job as a security guard and desperately wants it back. With much on her plate, Junior becomes a focus for Marta’s anxiety and bitterness. He is at odds with his mother as he wants to have his curly hair straightened for his school yearbook and to look like the pop stars his grandmother Carmen (Nelly Ramos) so admires.

Marta is uncomfortable with Junior’s bid for individualism, worrying that he is becoming increasingly effete. The winner of a number of awards at international festivals, Pelo Malo is a sensitive coming-of-age story with broad socio-political concerns, a multi-layered film that is a hugely impressive achievement for its emerging writer-director Mariana Rondón. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)

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★★★★ The Observer ★★★★ Irish Independent

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