Too Late to Die Young

Tarde para morir joven

After Pinochet’s fall, three youngsters drive up to a woodland commune below the Andes. The trip finds them questioning their life in this woozily gorgeous evocation of a Chilean summer.

Dir-Scr Dominga Sotomayor
Prod Rodrigo Teixeira, Dominga Sotomayor
With Demian Hernández, Antar Machado, Magdalena Tótoro
UK Distribution Day for Night

The early 1990s, as it emerged from decades of fascist rule, was a time to grow up fast for Chile. That included writer-director Dominga Sotomayor, who moved at the age of four to the nascent ecological community of Peñalolén. Like her Thursday to Sunday (LFF 2012), Sotomayor’s richly imagined new film sends her characters on a car journey, its killer compositional flair clear from the first shot of a car’s back seat, steadily filling up with the characters we will come to know well. They include will-they-won’t-they teenagers Sofia and Lucas, along with younger troublemaker Clara, all heading to a rural shantytown where they hope to idle the summer away while their parents debate the future. Lucas, awkwardly strumming his guitar, can’t hide his jealousy when Sofia, a sullen tomboy starting to exploit her looks, gravitates towards an older guy; while Clara, left to her own sneaky devices, claims that a confused dog is Frida, her family’s beloved Bernese Mountain Dog who has run away. Inti Briones’ photography is strikingly brilliant, with dreamy static takes brimming with a wealth of passing detail – when the dry scrubland is engulfed by a wildfire, the filmmaking smoulders to match. Youthful desire, ennui and mischief have rarely felt so tangible.

Tim Robey