Film Reviews

"Entre Nos" Tells the True Tale of a Colombian Family on the Streets of New York

The postscript for Entre Nos explains that it's based on codirector Paola Mendoza's own story of eking out a living on the streets of New York. Unfortunately, that postscript is more affecting than anything that made it to the screen. In the film, Mendoza plays her Colombian mother, and her adorably resilient childhood self is rechristened Andrea (Laura Montana); Sebastian Villada plays the equally adorable but stoic son, Gabriel. Left by her husband soon after joining him, kids in tow, in New York, Mariana hustles empanadas and takes up collecting cans. Soon homeless and penniless, she turns up pregnant. Put through the film's extensive gauntlet of personal trials, Mendoza remains radiant at her most harassed — this is a tribute, above all, and the story suffers somewhat for it. But the directors do have an occasionally mitigating eye for destitution: The image of Andrea meticulously deconstructing a bag of Cheez Doodles to lick the dust from its crevices, her exhausted mother looking on, is strangely resonant.

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Michelle Orange is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group and its film partner, the Village Voice. VMG publications include LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.