Lake Tahoe or Sadness

Lake Tahoe at the Havana Film Festival
Lake Tahoe at the Havana Film Festival

By Irina Echarry

When you feel fear you close your eyes, when you feel pain you close your eyes, when something happens you aren’t expecting you close our eyes.

That’s what the Mexican film Lake Tahoe by Fernando Eimbcke appears to be telling us, via winks or seconds of darkness that get longer as the film goes on.

Juan lost his father and doesn’t know what to do; he concentrates on fixing the car that crashed into a post (we never know how or why the accident occurred). His mother is depressed by the loss.

He travels the streets looking for mechanics shops and gets to know and spend time with people that don’t know his situation.

However, Juan is at peace, he can put a small boy named Fidel to sleep in his arms; he can free Sica, a female boxer so she can find the happiness her owner Don Heber can no longer give her; he can get close to a young woman, Fidel’s mother; he can go to the movies with a mechanic whose a big fan of Bruce Lee.

The film competing at the Havana Film Festival is a trip inside this young man. The images seem external and little by little we enter his emotions.

What Juan is suffering from is sadness. And that’s not going to be resolved quickly; it’s his powerlessness in the face of death. When we are jolted by something we don’t know what to do. Death of a loved one is never welcome; even less for a young person. It hurts. And the pain doesn’t cure easy.

But Juan is strong, more than his mother it appears. He knows that he must take care of his little brother and that death has no cure and life goes on even though the sadness doesn’t go away. If we entered the 23rd and 12th St. Cinema without knowing it after an hour and twenty minutes we understand that death is only a wink that life gives us, to shake us up.