Beba successfully navigates self-portraiture with cinematic language without losing its way.
Beba was screened as part of Sheffield DocFest, though all words were written entirely by the writers at Cinamore.
Beba, a film directed by, and revolving around the same individual is a hard concept to grasp. How can a filmmaker truthfully craft a film about themselves, without becoming self-indulgent?
Yet, Rebeca Huntt, abbreviated to Beba by her mother, proves it is entirely possible.
With a strong sense of purpose and identity, the exploration of the self throughout the film becomes, as anyone would expect, a meta dissection of her own ability to do such a thing.
Now admittedly, I stated that she manages this with ease, and the description of this achievement proves anything but.
But with a clear understanding of cinematic language, and mediums, playing with analogue and digital filming techniques Rebeca crafts a magnificent analysis of the way she was raised, nurtured, and shaped by her emigrant parents as well as the New Yorker way of living.
A first-generation migrant, with parents from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, carries with her their combined history and culture, but the way in which Rebeca amalgamates these, mirroring the mixing of filming techniques, presents an ensemble of her identity beyond how she verbally expresses it.
Exemplifying tremendous craft, Beba reminded me of the ability documentary can have as a way of expressing a portrait of the filmmaker with scenes lingering in memory as if ingrained.
The conversation about police brutality amongst friends, and the admission from her father about his economic position affirming the director that their upbringing was the best he could do at that time stand out as shining moments of veracious observations.
Debuting at Toronto International Film Festival, and making its UK premiere at Sheffield DocFest, I personally hope that with it achieving great things as part of the festival run both terrestrially and overseas, it will continue to do so for a general audience if given the opportunity as Beba is really something special.
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