The Bad Intentions – 2011 LAFF

This weekend the L.A. film festival saw the American premiere of Rosario Garcia-Montero’s The Bad Intentions. Set in 1982 Peru, The Bad Intentions is the writer-director’s debut film. Cayetana (Fatima Buntinx), is a morbid, 9-year-old child with a propensity to fantasize about fallen Peruvian war heroes. When she learns that her mother is pregnant, Cayetana convinces herself that “two suns cannot shine in the same sky”. The film follows her anxiety over the impending birth of her brother as she comes to the conclusion that the day the baby is born, she will die.

The film itself is saturated in death. Not only is Cayetana obsessed with it, but there is underlying tension from the threat of terrorists in 1982 Peru. Dead dogs hang from lamp posts. Explosions can be heard in the distance. Little girls talk of people disappearing during bomb drills. It seems that the terrorists are always lurking in the corner, just waiting for the opportune moment to pounce.

Garcia-Montero also succeeds in creating a the feeling of foreboding that encases every character. Cayetana herself is sad, unpredictable, and explosive. Her fear of change rules her life as she seeks attention from her pill-popping mother, who is unable to give it to her.

Cayetana is a fragile mixture of good and bad, a combination that keeps the audience unsure of her next move. While her personality is often volatile, she invokes a sense of empathy which is ultimately makes her a likable (if not traditional) heroine.

During a Q&A sessions revealed that the film took longer to make than she would have like- due in most part for lack of funding. However, is clear her patience has paid off. There is no doubt that Garcia-Montero shines in her debut film. Yes, The Bad Intentions marks Rosario Garcia-Montero as an up-and-coming, new talent.