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Chiqui

****
2022

‘…a great calling card for both writer/director and some fresh acting talent…’

So due to circumstances beyond our control, the pandemic means that we’re not reporting on the latest flicks from Sundance 2022, but in lieu of a live-feed from Park City, a few helpful publicists have been in touch to provide access to the wares on show. One minor gem is Carlos Cardona’s Chiqui, a short, 30 minute drama dealing with the topic of immigration, but in a warm and fuzzy way that makes it a great calling card for both writer/director and some fresh acting talent.

The year is 1987, and Chiqui and Carlos are on the move; having forsaken their native Colombia, they’re relocating to New Jersey initially, and then to a friend’s motel in lovely Montauk Point. She’s pregnant, and has to put her dream of being an air-hostess on hold while he’s struggling to find the kind of work that might support a family. Their bonds are tested; the American Dream can seem like a long way away when you can’t get any legal work…

Chiqui is a small and personal piece, but there’s lots to engage a wider audience, with well-chosen music and video-clips; the appearance of Kim Cattrall classic Mannequin on the couple’s tv set reflects the gap between the fairy-tale and the tougher reality they face. Brigitte Silva and Sebastián Beltranini both shine as the director’s parents, and as a film, Chiqui never has a dull moment through its scrupulous, heartfelt examination of the uphill struggle they face.

Chiqui screened as part of the Sundance Indie Episodic Program, and it’s a refreshingly honest view of life back in the 80’s. There’s certainly enough mileage here to suggest follow-up episodes should be in order, but for now, this is exactly what Sundance does best; connecting exciting new talent to jaded audiences looking for something new and original.

Chiqui screened as part of the Sundance Indie Episodic Program in Jan 2022.

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