Serious and subtle, La Playa DC captures the coming of age of a black Colombian teen who’s pulled in different directions by everything — his past, his poverty, his pride, family, friends, and dreams.

After losing his father and fleeing a war, Tomas (Luis Carlos Guevara) learns that Jairo, his beloved, drug-addicted brother, is in serious, straight-up life-threatening, debt to drug dealers. And when Jairo disappears, Tomas sets out to find him in the enormous, and openly racist, city.

Tomas’ search sends him to the streets, where he finds many things, such as: a pretty girl; a friend (and business partner) who just wants to move to the Great White North; and a knack for being a barber, or, more precisely, using a trimmer to carve intricate designs on men’s heads.

The focus of the film isn’t so much on Tomas’ actions as it is his indecision. The scenes seem to meander as the boy figures out that, in the end, he has to do things for himself, that he can’t be his brother’s keeper.

While La Playa‘s pensiveness could certainly use a jolt of humor, the movie’s tight, no-handle-holding approach to storytelling is a complex double-IPA sort of pleasure.


(credit: The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

(credit: The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

Other Highlights: Monday, April 15

Purge. This Finnish historical epic tells a story that spans generations, and does it with a thrilling, modern charge. (9:45 p.m.; also showing April 27 at 5 p.m.)

The Believers. Consider yourself a nerd? Then you may want to see this: “The Believers” is a doc about a group of enthusiasts who want to prove to the scientific community that cold fusion holds the answer to the world’s energy problems. (5:05 p.m.)

A Hijacking. When a Danish ship is taken by Somali pirates, drama unfolds on two fronts: the hostages face the threat of violence while the CEO of the shipping company grapples with the mental burdens of costly, and terrifying, ransom demands. (7:10 p.m.; also showing on April 18 at 10 p.m.)


For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.

Throughout the entirety of the 2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, we’ll be spotlighting one notable movie each day, along with other notable screenings. To see the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.


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