Written by Anna Harrison
Midway through 3feet, its young, soccer-obsessed protagonist, Gonzalo (Maykol Santiago Capacho Perales), faces an obstacle: he must navigate both himself and his soccer ball through a crowded marketplace in Pamplona, Colombia, to get to school. To do this, he envisions a great soccer field full of opposing team members to sneak around and a goalie to get past. Director Giselle Geney Celis brings Gonzalo’s imagination to life by animating this entire sequence, perfectly capturing our immersive childhood daydreams.
This sequence makes 3 Feet stand out far more than it would have otherwise, for its plot and style are relatively straightforward with the exception of Gonzalo’s imagined heroics. The film chronicles Gonzalo’s efforts to keep his shoes clean on the way to school after a teacher, Ramón (Luis Enrique Yañez), keeps him from recess one day because his shoes have been scuffed. It’s sweet without being overly saccharine; a charming reminder of the highs and lows of childhood that seem like life or death at the time, but which we laugh about later. The music, composed by Fran Villalba, lends a sense of whimsy to the proceedings, or else playfully represents the dire stakes—at least in Gonzalo’s mind—that accompany Ramón’s inspection of Gonzalo’s shoes.
You can feel Celis’ own affection for Pamplona even before the credits roll and you see that the film is “dedicated to my family, Pamplona and its people, for giving me the happiest childhood.” While 3feet doesn’t reinvent the wheel, with the exception of the animated sequence, it remains a charming monument to our childhood dreams.