Nine-year-old Junior has bad hair, or so he believes. He would much rather have straight hair like his mother, Marta. Living in a run-down tenement flat in a Venezuelan city, he finds inspiration in the televised beauty pageants that he watches with his friend. Together they plan to have their school photos taken in costume: he as a straight-haired singer and she as a beauty queen. Unfortunately for Junior, his mother doesn’t share his interest in pageantry and hair relaxers. On the contrary, she is terrified that these are early signs of her son’s dormant sexuality and responds with homophobic hostility, threatening to cut his hair or ship him off to live with his grandmother.
Winner, Best Film, San Sebastián Film Festival
With a startlingly raw performance from Samantha Castillo as the hard-headed Marta and an endearing introduction to the young Samuel Lange Zambrano as Junior, this low budget, guerrilla-style feature outlines the complexities of mother-son relationships as Junior struggles to gain acceptance in his mother’s eyes and Marta is simultaneously forced to confront her own fears and prejudices.
‘Mariana Rondón’s impressively multilayered drama brings a powerful specificity to the story of a boy and his embittered single mother’