The country’s economic crisis gives an edge to this hybrid documentary

This Venezuelan debut is the kind of production you often hear disparagingly described as a “small film”, but a restricted canvas can make for maximum intimacy. It is a quietly compelling item that appears to be part documentary, part realist fiction, with a faint edge of dream-like ghostliness. La Soledad, meaning “solitude”, is the name of a rambling house in Caracas – once magnificent, now dilapidated – formerly lived in by the family of director Jorge Thielen Armand. It is now inhabited by a working-class family – tenacious José, his wife, young daughter and infirm grandmother – but they may soon have to leave because the owners intend to sell the place.

Everyone, poor and relatively wealthy, is affected by Venezuela’s economic crisis, which shows its effects in food queues, empty supermarket shelves and an atmosphere of danger; one of José’s friends advises him to turn his hand to kidnapping as the only occupation that pays.

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