Fernando Colomo’s music and dance packed drama, The Tribe (La Tribu) was the opening film to this year’s Spanish Film Festival. The film starts off as a seemingly serious story about a bad economy and poor choices, but quickly turns into a heart warming dramedy about family and finding yourself.
The main character Fidel, played by Paco León, is an unlikeable man at the beginning. In his first scene, he is seen having a triste with his intern after having laid off 300 workers. Soon after this, he is encouraged by his therapist to seek out his birth mother, Virginia, played by Carmen Machi. Virginia is a warm and funny hotel cleaner who’s enthusiasm for their first meeting is quickly pushed aside when Fidel suffers a blow to the head and develops severe amnesia. Not remembering who he is or how to function as an adult, it is up to Virginia to care for him until his memory returns.
From there it gets quirky and funny as Fidel tries to relearn the basics of life and Virginia struggles to look after her fully grown child. She is part of a hip-hop dance group of older women who calls themselves The Mummies and decides it could help him to come to their classes. This inspirational group of women who preach pride, self-respect and love take Fidel into their class and help care for him.
The dialogue is surprisingly fast and witty for a subtitled movie and there are many jokes that were as funny for the non-Spanish speaking audience as they were for the fluent audience. It is a wonderful comedy that perfectly captures unique Spanish humour and presents a group of warm and funny women who have overcome tremendous trials and are helping a lost man to do the same.
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