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Café cover photo

Café 2014


Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710

Directed by Hatuey Viveros Lavielle
DVD , color, 88 min.

General Adult

Date Entered: 10/23/2017

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Beginning with the funeral and ending with the one-year anniversary of the unseen Antonio Hernández Hilario, this intimate family portrait depicts the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of those he left behind. Wife Tere sells handmade napkin holders to tourists for pennies; son Jorge takes a final exam towards a law degree; unwed teenage daughter Chayo makes a difficult decision about an unwanted pregnancy while grandparents and other relatives interact with each in turn.

Made almost entirely in the indigenous village of Quetzalan, in north-central Mexico, with minimal dialogue, the documentary captures a very specific environment at the same time telling personal stories that are universal. A verité camera approach manages to depict both the beauty and the hardship of the lives of the filmmaker's subjects. Director Viveros, whose father was a friend of the departed Antonio, effectively uses the sights and sounds of the village and the family to create a compelling, engaging narrative. The film is the winner of several festival awards including:

  • Best Film, 2015 Visions du Reel Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, 2015 Cinema Tropical Awards
  • First Prize and Best Documentary Scene Prize, 2015 Montreal First People's Festival