One of the most successful festival films of 2017, Virus Tropical is a coming-of-age story based of the autobiographical graphic novel by Power Paola: the story of the emancipation of Paola and her sisters born to a priest and a fortuneteller who do not want to see their children become rebels, punks, or feminists.
Paola and her elder sisters are growing up in a patriarchal family, whose life revolves around the church and small daily rituals. The fast-changing world comes into conflict with her parent’s worldview. Her father is a catholic priest and her mum has visions and predicts the future in dominoes. As Paola grows older, goes to school, makes friends, and falls in love, she develops a better understanding of herself and her real needs.
The minimalist black-and-white imagery and realistic dialogue of Virus Tropical make Paola a very familiar-looking character: similar to Daria of the American animated sitcom or perhaps, a distant relative of the protagonist from Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. Her coming-of-age story is told through a sequence of seemingly trivial episodes: conversations with family, parties with friends, arguments, reproaches, and attempts to understand the other—through which we develop our character as we grow up. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and won an Audience Award at SXSW.
Director Santiago Caicedo
Colombia, Ecuador, 2017, 97 minutes