Barrio (DVD)

Barrio surrounds itself around the maturation of three youths from a Spanish slum, linking drama and humor together in something that is realistic while still being completely entertaining. The story showcases the differential paths that these three individuals take, and the plot takes a number of twists and turns showing which individuals run afoul of the law, which will eke out a living, and which will ultimately be able to leave the slum which they grew up.

The film speaks volumes to the powerful influence that one’s surroundings have on the development and the maturation process of youth: while I was able to break free of my own town’s bonds, I know that there are a number of individuals that have not been able to do that in the years since high school graduation. What happens during Barrio helps all across the world, and the director (Fernando Leon de Aranoa) is really able to capture that. It is likely that viewers of Barrio will not easily recognize any of the other cast of the film, but that should not be seen as an impediment to enjoyment of this movie. Rather, the craft that is honed here by each actor showcases that true actors, no matter how well they are known, are able to turn in an outstanding role.

Actors like Crispulo Cabezas, Marieta Orozco (who won a Goya Award for Best New Actress for this film), and Alicia Sanchez are able to imbue their separate roles with a human element: what viewers see when they watch Barrio is not a collection of actors paid to tell a story, but rather individuals that are wholly invested with their characters. While the bonus features are sparse during this movie, the fact that there is an easy DVD source for Barrio should be enough of a comfort of fans of Aranoa’s early work, as well as those individuals that had not up to this point had the opportunity to watch this film. Here’s to hoping that Lionsgate continues to be on the ball and releases other works in Aranoa’s earlier career, as well as more Latin and Spanish types of films in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Rating: 8.0/10

Barrio (DVD) / 2008 Lionsgate / 98 Minutes / /

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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