Daniela Garcia is a telephone Help Center operator with dreams of being a dancer. But when her grandmother passes away it unleashes a generational curse, and forces the disenchanted dancer to go through all five stages of grief before the curse can be broken.
Huella means “fingerprint”, which is an apt title for a very symbolic film such as this that centers around family history. The synopsis given on websites like IMDB use the word “curse” as if they’re describing some kind of supernatural phenomenon. But they’re not. Oh, there are still ghosts and some weird shit in it, but in this poignant little film the term ‘curse’ refers more to past socioeconomic factors and societal expectations that have plagued the women in Daniela’s family (and others) for years.
The aforementioned ‘curse’ is not something inflicted upon Daniela’s family by, say, a witch or something along those lines, but is instead more referring to the pesky curse known as ‘tradition’. In this film’s case, it’s the tradition of living your life in a socially acceptable way that’s not going to embarrass your family too much… No matter how miserable it makes you. In other words: Do what’s best for your family, and not best for you, and sit there and like it. This is highlighted at one point when Daniela relives a moment in her grandmother’s young life where she was forced to marry a man she clearly didn’t love instead of following her wish to become a nun. In the vision Daniela is her grandmother, and it’s clear she knows the history behind the incident, because she knows what’s happening and what her grandmother’s wishes were. But at the same time she’s powerless to stop it. However, after having now experienced it for herself, it’s also clear that she now also better understands the incident and the pressure her grandmother faced during that time. It’s the revelations garnered from the vision that prompts a turning point in Daniela, and helps her break the self imposed ‘curse’ placed upon her.
But like I said, the movie is very symbolic. So while these memories of long past events and the glimpses of Daniela’s own mundane life are acted out in a traditional thespian sense, they’re also peppered with a few oddball and supernatural-like moments, some of which make more sense than others. It starts off by going straight for the horror movie vibe, with creepy flickering lights and ghostly hands and phone calls that tell Daniela to defend herself.
Spooky hands are spooky
Then children’s dresses are suspended by balloons in the living room before they POP!, and then the visions start, and a dollhouse burns, before Daniela is visited by the ghost of her dead grandmother, who keeps repeating “Stand up straight, keep your head up and your mouth shut” over and over again, which illustrates the lingering ‘curse’ of the Garcia family mentality. But despite some of the imagery this isn’t actually a horror movie, and abuela isn’t there to hurt her granddaughter, but to help her break the ‘curse’. Which of course she does, and then Daniela and (presumably) her dead ancestors get up and flamenco dance in the suddenly empty living room. Which, yeah, a little odd (okay, maybe a lot odd), but like I said it’s SYMBOLIC and all that jazz. But it’s also kinda sweet and uplifting and the choreography and music is nice, so the movie ends up concluding on a nice, fuzzy high note.
A kinda weird high note maybe, but still a very nice one.
Huella is a lovely short from start to finish. It tells a solid, uplifting story and successfully uses a variety of elements to pull it off. Everything from the acting, to the music, to the visuals is effective and spot on, and woven expertly to craft a tale. It’s the kind of short you want to be longer, because they did everything so well that you wish there was more of it. I’m sure some people aren’t going to like all the symbolic elements, but for everyone else this is an excellent short that’s well worth your 15 minutes.
Huella is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
2 thoughts on “Huella (2021)”
Hey this sounds really good?
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It was good. I mean, it’s still a little weird, but it’s a nice weird.
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