Directed by: Marisa Sistach | 104 minutes | drama | Actors: Gabino Rodríguez, Sofía Espinosa, Ricardo Polanco, Alejandro Calva, Iyantú Fonseca, Silverio Palacios, Ximena Ayala, Arcelia Ramírez, María de los Ángeles Ayuso, Alicia del Lago, Nancy Gutiérrez, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Luisa Pardo
In the musty, muddy environs of Mexico City, there are no jobs, Dad is drinking, and pets are killed when there is no room for them. “You are such a whore,” says farmer’s son Gabino to the cat when she has young again. “La niña en el piedra” is the naturalistic account of a group of teenagers in a hopeless environment. Marisa Sistach (“Perfume de violetas”) shows us the dark sides of their existence and its charms. Sistach has found an excellent balance in the story and the characters. Gabino is a not-too-handsome young man who tries to hide his sensitive nature behind a macho mask and fails to do so; Mati sees his good sides, but is wary of the boy’s aggressive sexual behavior.
To reinforce her multifaceted vision of these young people, Sistach also introduces the families in which the two grow up. Gabino’s father is a bland alcoholic, but also a deeply religious man, who dumps a statue of Mary found on the job into a puddle of mud for fear of the evil eye; Mati comes from a stable and protected environment and is blessed with the slightly arrogant aura of immaculate beauty.
What this film is all about in particular: the separate worlds of man and woman in a society on the threshold of modernity. The two worlds collide at school; even for the teachers, the boys raised with physical violence and corruption have no regard. The girls, on the other hand, are passionate and well-educated, but also much too gullible and therefore vulnerable, which is reflected in the violent but at the same time beautiful climax. Despite everything, the two sexes are condemned to each other; then only help from above can still help.
The world of “La niña en la piedra” is – in short – not a simple one, but is nevertheless portrayed without any frills. Marisa Sistach is one of those socially engaged film directors who does not need an explicit position to be effective. And can also make exciting films in a modest way; the young actors are also doing well – notably Gabino Rodríguez, who beautifully embodies his ambiguous role; this indicates that Sistach is also an actor director. We want to see more of her.