Tonight at the DC Independent Film Festival The Other Barrio will have its Washington premiere. The San Francisco tale is described as a ‘noir crime-buster.
As if ripped from today’s headlines reporting evictions, fires and protests in the streets, The Other Barrio follows investigator Roberto Morales as he sifts through the suspicious circumstances of a fatal fire in a residential hotel in San Francisco’s rapidly gentrifying Mission District and finds himself face to face with murder in the streets, corruption at City Hall and his own demons.
This is SF Noir at its best, a tale of murder, corruption, justice and greed. A truly complicated border war.’
But in fact, it is not the best. Surely, the noir feel is apparent, but the film lacks momentum as it seethes in its good intentions.
Adapted from a short story by San Francisco poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia and set against the current epidemic of evictions and gentrification, The Other Barrio is a fictionalized account of true events.
In a sea of stale stories day in and day out, this one is a nice one to exist. Frankly, the cinematography of this project is above many of its contemporaries making the festival rounds. And the diversity of it is highly necessary and appreciated.
The acting is subtle and believable. The sets are lovely and bring the audience closer to the atmosphere which has made San Francisco as enjoyable and desirable as it has for decades. Most importantly, the truth cuts like a knife when it comes to the social climate of San Francisco, both on socioeconomic and cultural levels.
However, being topical whilst including stories with queer or actors of color, a good story (or film) does not make.
The overall film plays mostly to the macho lead aggressor who will do anything he needs to allow his ego, albeit a well-intentioned ego, to be satiated in an ‘I told so’ manner. And that is the shame of this project. Having a lot of the right tools to make it a complete standout, it attempts to muddle through when it could have aimed much higher. Not to mention the scenes feel very chopped. Whether or not it is a style choice, it affects the flow of the story line.
Its main critique is that the standards were set high by the creative minds involved and subject matter.
The film shares billing tonight with First Metro in the eight to ten thirty block and the two to four in the afternoon block on Saturday, February 28th. For more information, [[click here]].
Current line-up: Bedbugs: A Musical Love Story, Bowes Academy, We Got Your Back.
Previous DC IFF entries: OFIR (documentary) : Ne Te Retourne Pas (short) : Halina (short) : EK (short) : Despite The Gods (documentary) : Materica (short) : No Strangers (documentary) : Meth Head, the movie : Echoes (short) : Titans of Newark (short) : A Cure (short)
Other film content: Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine, Lilting, Pride, Out in The Night (documentary) : The Way He Looks : Kumu Hina (documentary) : Southern Baptist Sissies, the movie : Precious, the movie : This Is It (documentary)