Lina from Lima is part realist drama about the immigrant working experience and part flamboyant musical, and it’s one of the best acquisition titles at TIFF19.
In the opening scenes of María Paz González’s Lina from Lima, the rhythms of everyday life feel almost musical. Quietly, Lina (Magaly Solier), a Peruvian immigrant working as a housekeeper in Chile, goes about her daily life. The noise of Lina’s world are pronounced in the sound mix: A bus trundling along the road; Lina rifling through boxes in her clients home; shoppers walking and chatting in the store. It’s as if Lina is listening for musicality in the mundane. It only makes sense, then, that the film is a musical.
Though Lina from Lima is largely a realist drama, occasionally, Lina’s drab world will explode into flamboyant song and dance. These sequences are over-the-top and fun, as if out of a film much soapier than the one we’re watching, but while they’re fun to experience as they are for Lina, there’s something sad about their fakery. This is Lina’s coping mechanism for the injustice and boredom of real life These sequences are a manifestation of Lina’s daydreams, where life is grand and melodramatic, when really it’s just disappointing. In contrast, the rest of the film lacks any non-diegetic music and the colours are flatter, clearly demarcating Lina’s real and dream world.
Still seeking distribution in the US, UK, and Canada
Lina from Lima screens 9/14 at 12:30 p.m. (Scotiabank). Tickets here.