Cocote (2017)

Viewed at TIFF ’17

Alberto has a job at a rich family’s mansion and is a man of few words. He returns to his rural home for a few days on learning of his father’s death.

Apart from the opening and closing scenes at the mansion (a static wide-shot of the swimming pool), the rest of the narrative plays out in Alberto’s village, and the contrast could not be greater.

But there are also divisions in the rural setting, which form the main focus of events. There is friction between traditional religion and Christianity, between what is expected of Alberto and what he expects of himself, between men and women, between what different people think is right and wrong.

It’s a fascinating, intense drama filmed with an almost documentary touch, and a couple of really good performances which carry the film to its unexpected (and yet also inevitable) conclusion.

The director, Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias, was scheduled to give a Q&A after the screening, but was unable to be there due to being stranded in his home in the Dominican Republic following the hurricanes.