Cleveland International Film Festival


Several films from Spain, Latin America and U.S. Latinos are in this year's festival. Here's one highlight:

Alba, Ecuador/Mexico/Greece
ALBA is a poignant look at the life of an excruciatingly shy 11-year-old. Alba, whose bedridden mother relies on her for help, is unable to form relationships at school. Instead she observes the preteen scene from outside, fragile as an insect beating its wings against a window. Alba longs to be a girl who goes to parties and wears pink lip gloss. But since her personality won’t let her, she mostly talks to herself. When her mother’s condition worsens, she goes to live with her father. He’s a maladjusted but well-meaning man, as reticent as the daughter he doesn’t know. Soon they get on together, in their own fashion. At her new school, an older girl is kind to Alba, and she’s even invited to a party. Yet following an agonizing game of middle school truth or dare, she breaks down. In sympathy with her pain, her father takes her to find solace by the sea. The future looks promising now that the two of them are together. ALBA features a beautifully understated performance by astonishing young actress Macarena Arias. 

Cleveland: March 29 - April 9. Full lineup and details here.