Acne centers on thirteen-year-old Rafael on the eve of his bar mitzvah in contemporary Montevideo. The American coming-of-age film often centers on tragicomic attempts to lose one’s virginity, but for Rafael, that is easily accomplished by a trip to the brothel. What he finds more complicated is making his peace with a highly imperfect, even corrupt, family, and with an invisible but seemingly undeniable set of constricting expectations about gender and relations between the sexes. That Acne, Veiroj’s feature debut, is also his most conventional film is not so surprising, but it does hint at the limitations of its genre. Where Hollywood places its emphasis on the integration of the adolescent into society, Veiroj suggests a more modern question (“Is it the individual who should change, or society?”) with the lightest of humor and the gentlest of touches.
Sixth of January (6 de enero)Directed by Daniel Hendler & Federico Veiroj.
Uruguay, 2001, DCP, black & white, 14 min.
Spanish with English subtitles.