A Family Affair

It’s amazing what a good director can do. The story behind Southern District (Zona Sur) could have easily been turned into a Spanish telenovela. But in the capable hands of filmmaker Juan Carlos Valdivia, it became a Sundance Film Festival award-winning film highly regarded for its innovative direction and sublime script. The film tells the story of an upper-class family living in a swanky Bolivian suburb, Zona Sur, well aware that the times are changing. Characters that would otherwise lend themselves to cheesy melodrama — a ruling matriarch, an oversexed son, a sullen daughter, and a wandering six-year-old — take on a fresh and layered life. In a country where the old guard (the aristocracy) is being steadily overcome by the country’s indigenous natives who are resurging, the political arena is tumultuous. But Southern District is as much a political commentary as it is a social one. Catch it while you can — Coral Gables Art Cinema (260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) is the only American theater showing it thus far.
Sun., Jan. 30, 7 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 31, 8:30 p.m.; Tue., Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m.; Wed., Feb. 2, 8:30 p.m.; Thu., Feb. 3, 8:30 p.m., 2011

 
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