In this subtle and atmospheric allegory by first-time feature director Marcela Said, a teenaged girl holidaying at a lake house in southern Chile experiences a bittersweet coming of age as she faces disillusionment in love and confronts the incoherency and intolerance of her affluent family’s political views.
The Summer of Flying Fish
Teenaged Manena (Francisca Walker) and her affluent family are holidaying at their lake house in southern Chile. It's a critical summer for Manena — a bittersweet coming of age as she faces disillusionment in love and the reality of her family's incoherent political views. She can also no longer ignore the behaviour of her father, Pancho (Gregory Cohen), who spends his time obsessed with ridding "his" lake of its carp, which he insists is a foreign infestation of his property. Manena also discovers the plight of the local Mapuche, whose indigenous land claim her family denies. As tensions simmer amongst the isolated forests and lakes, Manena is forced to decide who, and what, she will believe.
Reminiscent of the films of Lucrecia Martel, Marcela Said's debut feature The Summer of the Flying Fish metaphorically depicts the political situation in present-day Chile, and the unequal balance of power that defines it. Through the story of a single family, Said gestures at the attitude of the country's oligarchy towards its indigenous peoples; their revolt is never discussed, and their claims are met with indifference or laughter. Theirs is a struggle that is constantly silenced, and, through Manena, we catch mere glimpses of it.
Atmospheric and evocative, the film's
subtle cinematography creates an almost-tactile
quality, as the camera stops to ponder
decaying animals, hot-water streams, and
summer foliage — while the barking of dogs
in the distance continuously reminds us of
the omnipresent undercurrent of violence.