Cine Las Americas 2015
By Don Simpson | April 26, 2015
Director: Cristián Jiménez
Writers: Cristián Jiménez, Daniel Castro
Starring: Ingrid Isensee, María José Siebald, Paulina García, Maite Neira, Cristián Campos, Lucas Miranda, Ignacio Agüero, Cristóbal Palma, Vanessa Ramos, Shenda Román, Niels Schneider
Sofia (Ingrid Isensee) wishes that she had a voice over narrator to clearly explain her life because she is unable to understand it on her own. Her irrational stubbornness is complicated by contradictory lifestyle choices, such as Sofia’s halfhearted attempt at “purifying” herself by avoiding the use of cellphones and computers — two things she knows that she cannot live without, so she rationalizes a few workarounds. Sofia also keeps finding herself in bed with a married man, even though she knows he is not healthy for her. In fact, it seems as though vegetarianism is the only value to which Sofia stays consistently true.
Since she cannot control her own life, Sofia meddles in the lives of her other family members, whether it be forcing her two children — Roman (Lucas Miranda) and Alicia (Maite Neira) — to adhere to a strictly vegetarian diet or attempting to guilt-trip her sister Ana (María José Siebald) into breastfeeding. But the main focus of Sofia’s attention becomes her father (Cristián Campos), whose recent mysterious behavior prompts her to reevaluate his past. Feeding solely off rumors from long ago, Sophia develops an alternate family history in which her father’s indiscretions robbed her of the stability that she so dearly needed. While her father blames his desire to divorce Sophia and Ana’s mother (Paulina García) on the convincing way that Sophia rationalized her own divorce, Sophia turns her father into a bad guy in order to emotionally deal with her parents’ separation.
Writer-director Cristián Jiménez’s Voice Over intelligently examines the dysfunctional personalities of this upper-middle-class Chilean family with subtle satirical prowess. Steering clear of jokes and mockery, Jiménez quietly contemplates the ridiculousness of the family’s poor communication and passive-aggressive behavior with little to no judgment. Though class is never overtly discussed in Voice Over, the film plays as a condemnation of the spoils of privilege. Despite being mothers themselves, Sophia and Ana still rely quite heavily upon their parents for security. Jiménez is intrigued by the sisters’ petty and irrational behavior, as well as their constant whining and gossiping.