After making the rounds on the international film festival circuit, De Jueves a Domingo (From Thursday to Sunday) returned to Chile in early April and is now open in theaters in the Andean nation as well as abroad. De Jueves a Domingo is the first feature-length film of young Chilean Dominga Sotomayor, who both wrote and directed the picture.
Set during a four-day road trip heading north out of Santiago, the film follows a family with two young children navigating the stark desert landscape in their beat-up station wagon. As a backdrop to this trip, a mysterious and undefined conflict between the mother and father hints at their imminent separation.
Lucía, an introspective young girl and the family’s oldest child, becomes the film’s silent narrator. She pieces together the story of her parents’ tension through body language she perceives from afar, reading their lips through the car window, and overhearing bits of escaped conversation.
The couple hopes to shield their children from harm and heartache. However, Lucía is far more perceptive than their parents give her credit for.
One of Sotomayor’s great feats lies in her ability to capture the entire film from the perspective of a child. The audience hears only what a child could hear, sees what a child would see, and even takes on emotions that a child would have.
In one instance Lucía is lost in the desert at night. “In that moment she feels abandoned forever,” Sotomayor explained after a screening of the film in Santiago.
Depicting the familiar not the political
Unlike other Chilean films that have found international success by breaching contentious political subjects (such as Pablo Larraín’s No) De Jueves a Domingo is decidedly apolitical.
“I consider myself part of an apolitical generation,” Sotomayor explained. “I was more interested in intimate things, and capturing things that were familiar.”
“People who know me and have seen the film say, ‘your film is like your grandma’s living room,’” she added.
De Jueves a Domingo premiered in Chile at the Festival International de Cine de Valdivia, where Sotomayor’s flick took home the illustrious prize for Best International Feature Length Film.
Besides prizes won in Chile, De Jueves a Domingo was honored with prizes and mentions at festivals in the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Belgium, the U.S. and Argentina, making it the most prize-winning Chilean film of 2012.
Watch the trailer for De Jueves a Domingo here.
By Gwynne Hogan