You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thursday Through Sunday

The contained atmosphere of a weekend family car trip becomes a site for subtle tensions that gradually affect the 10-year-old protag in Dominga Sotomayor's strong feature debut "Thursday Through Sunday."

With: Santi Ahumada, Emiliano Freifeld, Francisco Perez-Bannen, Paola Giannini, Jorge Becker, Axel Dupre. (Spanish dialogue)

The contained atmosphere of a weekend family car trip becomes a site for subtle tensions that gradually affect the 10-year-old protag in Dominga Sotomayor’s strong feature debut, “Thursday Through Sunday.” Unabashedly part of an indie aesthetic that favors tightly controlled lensing and indirect thematic development, the pic says and conveys more substance with a seemingly casual glance than most action-packed vehicles. Fests are bound to pounce, though arthouse sales may be a tall order; streaming sites should also draw viewers.

Dawn’s light almost makes an appearance through the bedroom window of young Lucia (Santi Ahumada), as a fixed camera looks out on a car being packed up for a long road trip. When Ana (Paola Giannini) asks hubby Fernando (Francisco Perez-Bannen) if he’s sure he wants her to go, it’s clear this is a couple heading for splitsville.

The goal of this little family vacation, which also includes son Manuel (Emiliano Freifeld), 7, is to find a small parcel of land purchased long ago by Fernando’s father. While this constitutes the itinerary, the trip itself becomes a kind of long farewell to life as a unified family, largely seen through Lucia’s eyes. Mom and Dad don’t speak directly to each other much, and their tightened silences create a strained atmosphere inside the car, though the parents aren’t aware of how it affects the kids.

Over a weekend that includes camping out or sleeping in roadside motels, they have a “chance” rendezvous with single father Juan (Jorge Becker), resulting in further tension when it becomes obvious that Ana’s mood lifts whenever he’s around. This is a film of little gestures and brief looks, caught almost as if by chance by Barbara Alvarez’s perspicacious camera, and it’s the accumulation of small incidents that give “Thursday” its power.

Early scenes hinting at death mislead more than set a tone, but otherwise Sotomayor’s instincts are sure, capturing the little asides parents use to communicate when their kids are around, not realizing how much is actually being picked up in the backseat. It’s not a question of words but atmosphere, and the helmer’s delicate handling of her superb child actors (remarkably, both are first-timers) enable a wellspring of uncertain emotions to float to the surface. In Sotomayor’s talented hands, childhood is captured in all its conflicting moods, with an uneven combination of impatience, excitement, insecurity, freedom and dependence.

The helmer’s decision to shoot on Super 16 allows for a pleasing tactility that’s well-suited not just to the claustrophobic family intimacy within the car but to the barren, seemingly limitless landscapes they drive through. Alvarez (“The Headless Woman”) can hold a shot for an impressive length of time without making it feel merely like a fashionably artsy choice, yet there’s also variety in the lensing, and a considered use of the contrasts between what’s inside the car and outside the windows.

Thursday Through Sunday


Production: A Forastero, Cinestacion, Circe Films production. (International sales: Figa Films, Los Angeles.) Produced by Benjamin Domenach, Gregorio Gonzalez. Co-producer, Stienette Bosklopper. Directed, written by Dominga Sotomayor.

Crew: Camera (color, Super 16-to-35mm), Barbara Alvarez; editors, Danielle Filios, Catalina Marin; music, Diego Fontecilla, Elisa Arteche; production designer, Estefania Larrain; costume designer, Juana Diaz; sound (Dolby SR), Roberto Espinoza, Claudio Vargas. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Jan. 27, 2012. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Santi Ahumada, Emiliano Freifeld, Francisco Perez-Bannen, Paola Giannini, Jorge Becker, Axel Dupre. (Spanish dialogue)

More Film

  • 'All These Small Moments' Review

    Film Review: 'All These Small Moments'

    The magic of writer-director Melissa B. Miller Costanzo’s “All These Small Moments” can be found within the intimacy of the scenarios, the authenticity of her earnest characterizations, and the accessibility of the actors’ honest performances. In her deftly polished directorial debut, Costanzo dovetails the primary story about a teen’s coming of age with a secondary [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • Bruce Dern

    Film News Roundup: Bruce Dern's 'The Lears' Bought by Vertical for February Release

    In today’s film news roundup, Bruce Dern’s “The Lears” and “Angels Are Made of Light” are acquired, Cold War drama “Stanley Cage” is launched and a documentary about Madonna’s early music career gets a release. ACQUISITIONS Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights from NeoClassics Films to “The Lears,” starring Bruce Dern in a modern-day [...]

  • Octavia Spencer Bryce Dallas Howard

    Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard to Reunite for Comedy 'Fairy Tale Ending'

    Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard will reunite for the ensemble comedy “Fairy Tale Ending.” Jim Hecht (“Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Tracy McMillan (“Marvel’s Runaways”) are writing the screenplay. Howard will also produce the Universal movie through her Nine Muses Entertainment alongside Eric Carlson and Susan Carlson. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins will produce [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content