Netflix Finally Adds ‘Dolares de Arena,’ Dominican Film That Crushed the World’s Top Film Festivals

As film festival season kicks off, us Latino cinenerds will undoubtedly be treated to countless trailers, synopses, and reviews for the big Latin American titles sweeping world cinema this year. But unless we happen to be in Berlin, or Rotterdam, or the south of France, the chances are we won’t actually see any of them any time soon. Fortunately, good things come to those who wait, and one of 2014’s most buzzed-about titles from Nuestra América has finally found its way onto Netflix’s streaming platform for our viewing pleasure.

Dólares de arena (Sand Dollars), is a Dominican feature from husband-wife directing duo Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán. Part of a new wave of film production coming out of the country, Dólares de arena features none other than Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie and a brilliant actress in her own right) as an elderly French tourist who falls in love with a young Dominican woman and makes plans to move her back to France.

Director Laura Guzman and actress Geraldine Chaplin
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Based on a French novel of the same name, Dólares de arena may seem like a typical story of tropical romance told through the eyes of a white foreigner, but the bachata-fueled feature is equally, if not more interested in the predicament of the young Dominican woman, played by Yanet Mojica, and the shady power dynamics that may be at work.

Dólares de arena premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival before going on to win important awards at the Chicago, Cairo, and Havana Film Festivals. It was also the DR’s submission to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category, but ultimately did not receive a nomination. Hopefully, this one will hold us over until 2015’s hits start blowing up Netflix sometime next year.

[h/t: Shadow and Act]