Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘Miriam Lies’ Is a Harsh yet Necessary Coming of Age Story

In Latin America, there is no event more important for young girls than the quinceañera. Families will save up every extra penny to make sure that the celebration is a lavish affair, welcoming the girl’s progression into adulthood with a whole lot of pomp and circumstance. For Miriam (Dulce Esther Rodríguez Castillo), however, her 15th birthday is loaded with dread, as she has a secret that she doesn’t want the rest of her family to know about.

She has a boyfriend named Jean-Louis, who she only knows from chatting online. One day, she goes to meet him at a natural history museum, but upon seeing his face, something holds her back. She doesn’t talk to him, and runs away, explaining to her mom that he didn’t turn up. At first, this seems like natural shyness, but it slowly becomes clear that it’s because he’s black. The resulting film is a piercing tale that functioned both as a well-worked character drama and a seething critique of a racist society.

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Karlovy Vary 2018: ‘The Fireflies are Gone’ Captures the Complexities of Growing Up

This piece is written by our guest writer Redmond Bacon.

Coming of age can be a messy process. Caught in a limbo between the dull present and an unknowable future, teenagers have to navigate both their sense of self and who they would like to become. For Léo (Karelle Tremblay), only a month away from finishing school, the burden of expectation becomes too much. Not only does she tell her mother’s friends that she doesn’t know what she wants to do next, but she actually runs away from her own birthday dinner. Reminiscent of when Lady Bird, annoyed at her mother, simply jumps out of the car, this is a clear signal that this girl is going to live her life on her own terms, much to the consternation of those around her.

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