Ciencias Naturales (Natural Sciences)
Director: Matías Lucchesi
Argentina / France 2014, 71 Min, Spanish
Lila is growing up in a remote boarding school located way up in a sparse mountainous landscape. She’s just turned twelve and is determined to leave and find her father. But she doesn’t even know his name, and her embittered mother refuses to talk about him. All Lila has is a rusted company plaque from a weather-beaten antenna mast that her father is supposed to have once erected. One bitterly cold day Lila tries to slip away on horseback. This brings the girl’s inner torment to the attention of a female teacher who sets off with Lila to search for her father. Their quest for truth leads them through inhospitable land and is more convoluted than expected.
In his densely atmospheric feature debut Matías Lucchesi tells a story about the depths of loneliness and how this can be overcome. His film describes childlike longings, parental neglect and the courage needed to take on responsibility. The young protagonist’s performance is astonishing, combining fragility, wilfulness and fierce determination. Whenever a smile flits across her face it feels like the sun breaking through the clouds.