Traición (Betrayal) (Ignacio Ortiz, 2018): Mexico

Reviewed by Shayne Casso-Cloonan at the 2019 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Diana Ávalos in Traición (2018)

Traición is a film that I thoroughly believe was made with good intensions, but fell short of its potential greatness. Directed by Ignacio Ortiz and written by Gilberto Guerrero, the plot line was scattered and the information leading up to one of the main character’s untimely death was highly confusing. At the end of the film, I left the theater yearning for more information and cohesiveness.

The film follows a young woman, played by Diana Ávalos, and her father, played by Juan Manuel Bernal, both while separate and together, throughout various times in their lives. With visuals flashing between the past and present day, the audience sees flashbacks revealing how, as a child, the father grew into his current profession as a sort of on-the-go movie theater attendant, and then later on in his life when he meets his presumed daughter’s mother, and then she leaves him alone with said daughter. The film then transitions to the daughter’s life. It shows the audience how kind and gentle her father was to her as a child, and raised her to be strong and independent, and then shows her as an adult, attempting to piece together the only bits of knowledge that she has regarding her mother. It seems that the young woman is stuck between searching for the truth in her mother’s whereabouts and the incomparable love that she shares for the man that raised her, but the film never really gives the viewer a clear conclusion.

Although my overall take on the film is that the idea of realism is broken when we aren’t given any pertinent information about what is actually happening, it is not to say that there were good aspects to point out. The usage of symbolism was very nicely integrated, along with coloring (there was a specific usage of red), personal belongings, and location. The acting was also very well done, as the main characters pushed the only really enjoyable scenes in the film.

I think that my confusion surrounding the story line could possibly be due to the way the film was edited, but I can’t say for sure as I wasn’t part of the filmmaking process. If anyone is interested in studying good acting techniques, I would definitely recommend this, but if anyone wants to finish the film with the feeling of understanding, or at least a minor sense of relation, I would not recommend that it be watched.

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