Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
Based on an autobiographical graphic novel by Colombian cartoonist Powerpaola (real name Paola Gaviria), this appealing and affecting animated film reflects her experiences growing up in a family dominated by strong-willed women. The intricately detailed, doodle-like style of Powerpaola’s black-and-white illustrations is brought to vivid life by animator Santiago Caicedo.
From Quito in Ecuador to Cali in Colombia and even to the Galapagos Islands, the film follows Paola’s life through the late 20th century, from conception to adulthood. An unexpected ‘gift’ who arrives after her mother has had her tubes tied (with doctors misdiagnosing her pregnancy as a ‘virus tropical’), Paola causes quite the upheaval in her family. She is doted on but occasionally dropped by her oldest sister, Claudia, and tormented by jealous middle sister Patty. Paola’s father, a defrocked priest, decides to return to the cloth, leaving Paola’s mother to raise her three daughters on her own.
The story flows in a nimble true-to-life fashion devoid of any whiff of screenwriter’s contrivance, delivering an authentic and intimate portrait of life growing up in a family in flux. — MM