Change-of-pace pic for Colombian helmer/scribe Jorge Echeverry — after his popular soccer-themed black comedy “Maximum Penalty” — “Malamor” delves into the hysteria of adolescence, with its odd rites, fervent impulsiveness and suicidal intensity. Film’s pixyish heroine Lisa (Cristina Umana), obsessed with her mother’s lover Hache (Gustavo Angarita), moves heaven and earth to possess him, her intransigent will and total disregard for consequences as terrifying as they are seductive. By the end, the devastated Hache is dragging Lisa’s dead body through mountain passes and shooting heroin in her name. Interesting but disquieting film seems unlikely to travel beyond fest circuit.
In tracing a young girl’s fevered final days, the camera maintains a distance that is less analytical than purely spatial. A loose cannon shooting off in all directions, Cristina Umana’s Lisa indulges in drug overdoses, suicide attempts, and mad schemes to facilitate fantasies that go fatally wrong. Yet, in her, Echeverry also captures the beauty and purity of youth, the courageous ability to go all the way that is too soon lost to the dubious caution of maturity.