Being a child is difficult at the best of times. Take a young girl out of her environment and there’s no telling what may happen. Lucky audiences who take in Nervous Translation will be transformed by a mesmerizing low-key performance from its lead who provides a fulfilling experience.
World cinema with a Philippine bent makes its way to the shores of Vancouver. At the Centre of Nervous Translation is the youthful Yael who lives largely home alone as her birth parents are away. Playing the part with a sense of innocence and desperation is Janna Agoncillo who truly anchors this story. Either you believe her or you don’t. With effective co-stars, luckily, we buy into Yael’s plight as she staves off boredom living in a small Manila bungalow by creating somewhat of an altered state. For escape our miss prepares meals for her dollhouse.
Part of the popular Dragons and Tigers program this wonderful look at Philippine culture and tradition through the eyes of a wise beyond her years eight-year-old will truly reel you in. Another strength of the film is use of terrific mementos from the 1980s most of us oldies will remember. Nostalgia and the emigration experience are deftly handled in director Sheen Seno’s winning effort.
Tuesday Oct. 9. 6:30 PM. Pacific Cinematheque
Thursday Oct. 11. 3:15 PM. Vancity Theatre
By: Alan Samuel