Cine Las Americas 17 Review: JIRAFAS (GIRAFFES)

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

From Cuban director Enrique Alvarez and writer Claudia Muniz, comes this film about three “roommates” connecting, though they don’t verbally communicate often. Tania (Olivia Manrufo) works as a seamstress out of her home, but can barely make ends meet. She has received various eviction notices and could be kicked out any time soon. Manuel (Yasmani Guerrero) and Lia (Claudia Muniz) have broken into Tania’s home and are basically squatting, despite Tania’s demands that they leave. Lia works hard as waitress in a Chinese restaurant while Manuel bums around at the house. Eventually, Tania gives up and reluctantly allows the couple to stay and the trio connect in various ways no one had anticipated.

An intriguing piece, Jirafas offers an interesting look at mostly non-verbal interaction and communication, but left me wanting more from the story and plot. I found the characters compelling, but the story simply remains as a portrait of real life scenarios that doesn’t go very far. I do have much praise for Manrufo, Guerrero, and Muniz who all deliver solid performances. It is a film that is enjoyable to watch, but ultimately leaves one a bit unsatisfied.

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