The trailer for Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias‘ new film, Cocote, opens with a black-and-white shot. We’re in a cemetery where three older people (two women and one man) are reciting the Padre Nuestro. You can see palm trees in the background and there’s a shoddiness to the quality of light in the image. When they’re done they ring a bell and begin another, much different chant. The following images, which show lush green landscapes and funeral rites in the Dominican Republic give you a sense of the story this Latin American co-production is going for.
For those wanting a clearer sense of the plot of this family drama, we’d better offer the synopsis from the Locarno Film Festival where the project premiered just earlier this month: “Alberto, an evangelical gardener, returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his father, who was killed by an influential man. To mourn the deceased, he is forced to participate in religious celebrations that are contrary to his will and beliefs.” This story of cultural clashes earned the Signs of Life Award from the electronic.art.foundation at this year’s fest. In the words of the jury, the film was cited, “For its creative reinvention of the traditions of anthropological cinema.” And from the recently released trailer, you can see why those in attendance at the European fest were so wowed by it. Check it out in full below.
Cocote premiered at the 2017 Locarno Film Festival and is playing the Toronto Film Festival in September.