Review: ‘La Yuma’

A surly tomboy succeeds inside and outside the boxing ring.

A surly tomboy succeeds inside and outside the boxing ring in Nicaraguan documentary filmmaker Florence Jaugey’s serviceable but uninspired narrative feature debut, “La Yuma.” Far more confident and convincing when depicting young Yuma’s (Alma Blanco) work in the gym and ring than in the hackneyed plotlines involving her gang pals, her journalist beau and her hopeless family, the film reps a rare international play for Nicaraguan cinema in fests that have supported its development. Don’t bet on theatrical matches, but DVD and ancillary in Spanish-language markets appear promising.

Itching to get out Managua, Yuma is determined to make boxing her ticket out of town. In the meantime, she’s trying to distance herself from her longtime gang buddies and main squeeze Culebra (Rigoberto Mayorga), even as her mom has brought her lazy b.f. home. The script meanders from one part of Yuma’s life to another without much dramatic or cinematic shaping, leaving the excellent Blanco to deliver this portrait of a young woman working to make her future amid difficult conditions. A dalliance with university journo student Ernesto (Gabriel Benavides) is especially underdeveloped.

La Yuma

Nicaragua-France-Spain

Production

A Camila Films/Ivania Films/Wanda Vision/Araprod presentation. Produced by Florence Jaugey, Miguel Necoechea, Jose Maria Morales, Marie Claude Arbaudie, Gorune Aprikian. Directed by Florence Jaugey. Screenplay, Jaugey, Edgar Soberon, Juan Sobalvarro.

Crew

Camera (color), Frank Pineda; editor, Mario Sandoval; music, Rodrigo Barbera; production designer, Arlen Centeno; costume designer, Oyanka Cabezas, Vivian Lopez. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Sept. 4, 2010. (In Los Angeles Latino, Guadalajara, Goteborg film festivals.) Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Alma Blanco, Rigoberto Mayorga, Gabriel Benavides, Juan Carlos Garcia, Eliezer Trana, Maria Esther Lopez, Salvador Espinoza, Sobeyda Tellez, Guillermo Polvorita Martinez. (Spanish dialogue)

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