Mexican-born, Toronto-based multihyphenate Nicolas Pereda (“Juntos”) veers further into semi-experimental territory with “Summer of Goliath,” a docu-fiction hybrid with only a thin smear of narrative. Immersive portrait of a rural community starts with several youngsters attributing a past murder to the titular local kid. But rather than go the “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” route, pic mutates into a series of naturalistic scenes covering many locals, of whom an abandoned wife, played by matronly Pereda regular Teresa Sanchez, is the standout. Venice Horizons honors and the helmer’s growing reputation will ensure further travel.
Pic resembles “Our Beloved Month of August” and “Putty Hill” in the way documentary techniques (including questions coming from an offscreen interviewer) are used to advance what little narrative there is; Pereda moves into territory where atmosphere and tone are more important than story or character. A minutes-long fixed shot of Sanchez dictating a letter to her army-bum son (Gabino Rodriguez, another regular) is pic’s dramatic and comic highlight, but it’s not directly connected to most other scenes. Besides the focally challenged, penumbral lensing by his regular d.p., Alejandro Colonado, most tech credits were handled by Pereda.