Miami International Film Festival: A Review of Jorge Navas' Blood and Rain

A few hours after midnight, a man and a woman meet randomly on the cold, wet streets of Bogotá. He's Jorge (Quique Mendoza), a taxi driver whose brother was mysteriously murdered. She's Angela (Gloria Montoya), a sexy but emotionally damaged party girl with out-of-control coke and liquor habits. Gradually, as chance events and targeted violence bring the pair closer, a strange but undeniable attraction develops.

In his first feature, director Jorge Navas leads the characters (and viewers) on a slow, methodical descent into the Colombian underworld, from after-hours clubs and strip joints to killing fields. Blood and Rain depicts a dark sphere of existence, where chaos reigns, outbursts of brutal violence are common, deeply irrational behavior is the norm, and drugs are eaten to erase bad memories.

But it's not bleak. One of the reasons is the luridly bright nightscape

photography of Juan Carlos Gil, who soaks the streets of Bogotá in

saturated blacks and warm yellows that make abandoned lots and

trash-filled alleys seem beautiful. Then there's the acting: Both

Mendoza and Montoya deliver human performances that redeem profoundly

fucked-up characters. And finally, consider Navas's clarity of vision.

At only 36 years old, he's a mature filmmaker with enough perspective

to tackle the inexplicable.

March 7 at 7 p.m., Tower Theater, SW Eighth St., Miami;

305-642-1264; March 10 at 9:15 p.m., Regal Cinemas South, 1120 Lincoln

Rd., Miami Beach; 305-674-6766

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