An 8-year-old girl lives with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her grandmother. Her grandmother is good at tailoring and working with fabrics; and together with the girl she makes up stories and creates a fantasy world. When her grandmother dies, the little girl loses not only her best friend, but also a guide and a guardian. And as her real life becomes more dangerous and tragic, her attempts to flee into her fantasy world alone lead to a blurring of fantasy and reality.
La costruera is a sad and depressing story about child abuse, and as such it tackles a bit of a taboo topic. Because, while the Cuban government invests some time and effort into the prevention of child abuse, it also likes to pretend in public that the problem does not exist in the country. It is therefore not discussed in the media, etc. This is an attitude that can be found in many countries around the world and is by no means limited to Cuba.
Despite her young age, the film’s director, Rosa María Rodríguez, is an experienced artist who has worked in film as well as for the stage and is teaching film at a Cuban university. La costruera feels very accomplished. And it is avery elaborate film, incorporating many scenes of stop-motion animation, depicting a world made up of fabrics, buttons, etc. However, it is not always easy for me to tell which scenes might be real stop-motion animation, and which might be CG-scenes made to look like stop-motion.
La costruera is an important film that is well worth checking out.
Rating: 7.5 to 8.0 out of 10