Directed by Arturo Duenas Herrero | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
The word ‘Pessoas’ literally translates as ‘people’ in English. This Spanish, narrative feature film starts with the context behind the protagonist deciding to be a photographer. It talks about how he would capture ‘people’ just in general, walking around the streets, without them knowing at times and using this as a profession to earn money. However, just while doing his regular job one fine day he captures a beautiful face on his camera that contributes a lot in giving him the fame that he had achieved working as a professional photographer for years. So, Arturo, the protagonist decides to find this very face that looks at him every day from the wall of his own house and come to know the girl whom he had captured during the national parade of 1st May exactly ten years ago. He decides to travel all the way to Santiago de Cuba just after the death of Fidel Castro to find this unknown woman all by himself. However, there is a twist in the story here, when his only daughter Greta whom he had not seen for days now decides to join him on his trip and search for the woman. Things between the father and daughter become a lot more interesting as the story moves forward from here, unfolding the different layers of their relationship through a common goal of finding an unknown face. But, will this just be a search operation? Will it change the dynamics of the father-daughter relationship? and will they be able to actually find this familiarly unfamiliar face after so long? That is for you to watch and explore later in this film.
The central characters Arturo and Greta have portrayed the relationship of a father and daughter living apart from each other as a result of the separation of the husband and wife. While Arturo seems to be reluctant of this fact and believes that his bond with his daughter is just fine, she doesn’t quite agree with this. She feels that her father has not been able to give her enough time and has forgotten his responsibilities towards her as he barely even calls to keep a check on her. Therefore, their relationship seems a little messed up as the story gradually progresses. This very problem is very commonly seen most modern family setups where children find it difficult to cope up with their parent’s separation and more often feel left out by either of the parent. This issue arises due to lack of communication, which the writers have brought out clearly through the script.
Yet another theme that has been emphasized upon is the political context of revolution and how freedom has impacted the lives of the commoners in Cuba. It throws light on different perspectives by different people belonging to the country, while some feel great about their freedom, some feel that the situation remains the same, where they’re trapped in a place without basic amenities and a basic level of standard of living for the common man. In this light, the film might also be considered as a political satire targeting the government for not being able to fulfill the needs of the people even after years of experiencing independence and freedom.
The director and protagonist of this film Mr. Arturo has done a great job in terms of storytelling and screenplay. He is a qualified professional in the field of cinematography and filmmaking, who has graduated from the New York Film Academy and is currently an active member of the Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences of Spain. He has been awarded in over thirty international film festivals for his work in different fields of actor, director, editor, producer and scriptwriter in several short as well as feature films.
While this film may seem a little too slow at the start, it takes off in the latter half when the story reveals several intriguing twists and turns making it an absolute delight to watch while the audiences also relate with the lives of the characters and their feelings throughout the narrative.
Samiksha Periwal is an 18 year old student from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is an enthusiast, eager to learn and explore. She has done her schooling from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata and is currently a student of Christ University, Bangalore pursuing a triple major in BA Psychology, Sociology and English. She is a passionate writer and has won many laurels for her school through the years.