“Tan distintos” is Ecuadorian director Pablo Arturo Suárez’s debut film. He attended the festival to introduce the movie at the Salvage Vanguard Theater on May 7, where he mentioned he would stick around afterwards for a Q&A session. Suárez’s presence made the experience a little more exciting to see how the audience would enjoy the film.
Review by Nathan Garza
“Tan distintos” centers on a middle-aged couple, Ricardo and Paula, who come back to their beach house on the coast of Ecuador. They have some marital issues, but have also found ways to just work around them—usually by not discussing them outright. There are hints that there is something major the audience is missing out on, but we don’t get any exposition. This is a film where we, the audience, learns as the plot moves forward and uncovers everything.
When Ricardo and Paula’s grandson shows up unexpectedly, they are forced to save face and make sure they can entertain the child. He’s an inquisitive and curious kid, and sure enough, his questions about why he’s never been to their beach house or why his grandparents act a certain way starts to reveal more and more the importance of their familial secrets.
For the most part, however, the grandson’s presence gets the couple to act happy enough that they truly seem to forget their problems. It might be a situation where if you fake it long enough, you believe it, but I doubt the couple is upset to be doing stuff as a family again and just enjoy the nearby town and watching the waves.
I enjoyed these scenes because you get to see a young kid enjoying time with only his grandparents, and it took me back to my own childhood. I also just felt like I don’t often see these relationships on screen.
The story plays out in three major sections, as seen in the film by who’s all at the beach house. First, it is just the couple, then their grandson goes and shifts the dynamic, but it is when their daughter comes to get her son towards the end where everything starts to fully come to light.
For Suárez’s debut film, he did an amazing job touching on real issues that people can relate to.
During his brief Q&A session, Suárez spoke about how he really just loves the process of movie-making. For him, the love isn’t necessarily getting to film his movie at festivals, but actually being behind the camera and putting the entire project together.
Another thing he touched on was the recent major earthquake in Pedernales, Ecuador, where the film actually takes place. He mentioned he was about to premiere it in Ecuador right after the earthquake and debated not showing it, but felt it was good for the country to see the film and also see the beautiful landscape as it was.
I’m definitely new to this whole writing thing, so forgive lack of eloquencies. I play a lot of video games and have more movie opinions than most people care to hear. In the process of leash training my cat so we can eventually go hiking together. You can follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @n842, learn about my new movie podcast Thoughts in the Can here, and my in-progress video game podcast Hard Mode here.