Directed by: Luc Knowles
Distributed by: TBA
Written by Jeff Sparks
“Libélulas” stars Olivia Baglivi and Milena Smit as Alex and Cata, two friends who’ve long dreamt of escaping their small, rundown town in search of a better life. With troubled home lives and even messier social lives, the only thing keeping the two from leaving is money. When Alex finds a way to make a sum of cash, she risks not only her friendship but her life in an attempt to have a new beginning. When they’re not wandering around aimlessly or dealing with their estranged families, the girls’ lives are submerged in an excess of drugs, alcohol, and sex, similar to how their antics are filmed. The always mobile camera tracks them everywhere they go, capturing every movement they make in their reckless exploration of the small world around them. The independent motion of the camera allows the two leads to interact with the environment and capture the lives of Alex and Cata on a second-to-second basis.
While the camera work impresses, the standout component of the film is by far the acting. All film long the two leads play their parts to perfection. The way they talk and walk solidifies the believability of the story. I talk about actors a lot so don’t take it lightly when I say that Baglivi and Smit perform one of the best scenes I’ve seen in years early on in the 3rd act. In the scene, Cata finds out that Alex was planning on leaving town without her. What ensues is an explosion of emotion and raw, uncut acting prowess. For four minutes and thirty-one seconds, the two go at each other verbally and physically with no stoppage. Alex’s shame and Cata’s resentment collide, leading them both to real tears to the point of them struggling to get the dialogue out. At one point Baglivi’s shirt gets ripped down. They press on, continuing to tear into each other, shoving, yelling, and crying until a new revelation pulls them back toward each other.
The uncut and unrestrained nature of that scene is purely riveting. The fact that Baglivi rolled with her wardrobe mishap shows a tenacity that few actors have. The film is worth seeing for that scene alone. The film isn’t perfect though. Its main flaw stems from an out-of-place sub-plot about a local criminal. While some of the girls’ actions affect the criminal, it doesn’t make sense to show anything from his perspective when the story we’re watching is about these two women. This occasional change of point of view bogs the film down slightly. The incredible performances, free-flowing direction, and impressive visuals make “Libélulas” a unique film that deserves a watch from both fans of acting and independent cinema.
“Dragonflies (Libélulas)” Trailer