A French femme travels back to the coastal Mexican village where she used to live in order to make peace with the past in the humidly atmospheric but underwhelming Franco-Swiss co-production "Mangrove."

A French femme travels back to the coastal Mexican village where she used to live in order to make peace with the past in the humidly atmospheric but underwhelming Franco-Swiss co-production “Mangrove.” Stingy with dialogue but generous with shots of people looking thoughtful while canoeing through swamps, pic by Swiss co-helmers Frederic Choffat and Julie Gilbert plays like a padded-out short wrapped around an essentially melodramatic conceit. At least it’s blessedly brief and features pretty scenery, which ought to help “Mangrove” to wash up on a few further fest shores.

With her young son (Solal) in tow, an unnamed woman (French thesp Vimala Pons) arrives in the small Mexican village on the Pacific coast where, per flashbacks, she used to live and fell in love with a local man (Efren Mendez Avalos), who’s tellingly not around in pic’s present tense. She paddles a canoe with her kid deep into the mangrove swamp to dig up a mysterious knife, and meets another Gallic expat (Fabian Tellez-Cau) who gets her thinking about the past. The big reveal reps a shrug-inducing so-what; cast looks enervated throughout from the location’s heat.

Mangrove

Switzerland-France

Production

A Les Films du Tigre, Red Star Cinema, Radio Television Suisse production. (International sales: Les Films Tigre, Geneva.) Produced by Frederic Choffat, Julie Gilbert, Cedric Walter, Francoise Mayor. Directed by Frederic Choffat, Julie Gilbert. Screenplay, Gilbert.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Patrick Tresch; editor, Cecile Dubois; music, Pierre Audetat; production designer, Alex Jomaron. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug.10, 2011. Running time: 66 MIN.

With

Vimala Pons, Solal, Efren Mendez Avalos, Fabian Tellez-Cau, Amalia Canseco Hernandez, Jean-Christophe Hereil, Patrick Pasquier. (Spanish, French dialogue)
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