At a time when so much feels out of our control, Catalina Arroyave Restrepo’s feature debut Los días de la Ballena (Days of the Whale) feels like a rebellion against hopelessness. Cristina (Laura Tobón Ochoa) and Simon (David Escallón Orrego) — two young graffiti artists in Medellín, Colombia — are madly in love with each other and their work. Part of an art collective run by Lucas (Carlos Fonnegra), the two become swept up in anti-gang protests. An ever-escalating turf war inspires Cristina and Simon’s to dream up their greatest collaborative work yet — a tribute to Cristina’s mother, a journalist who fled Colombia after being targeted by gang members.
Throughout, Arroyave Restrepo captures the youthful zeal of her two main characters’ love and creativity, while also acknowledging that many who perpetuate the cycle of violence they live with are in fact former classmates — kids who grew up playing together and now stand ready to tear each other down. Flashes of magical realism punctuate the film, as a real-life whale (an animal associated with Cristina’s mother) disrupts the urban environment.
For the artists, the collective’s home base is not just a haven for creativity, but a place to develop their respective voices, ones even Lucas can’t reign in. He fears their newfound independence and anger against the system will lead to retribution. Ultimately, he’s right — power rarely cedes easily. But even when violence looms, art offers the pair an ability to fight back, making Los días de la ballena (Days of the Whale) an empowering testament to the need for self-expression.
Los días de la ballena (Days of the Whale) (2020), dir. Catalina Arroyave Restrepo is now streaming in virtual cinemas.
An extraordinary variety of artists came to Jon Swihart and Kim Merrill’s backyard potlucks, discussing not just their work, but also the events and challenges of their lives.
With A Lion for Every House at the Art Institute of Chicago, Floating Museum riffs wildly on the art rental programs of some museums.
Art and photographs, publications from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, posters and more are set to cross the auction block on August 18.
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Incarcerated people will be allowed to read Heather Ann Thompson’s 2016 Blood in the Water, except for two pages featuring a map of the prison.
The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno welcomes guests to learn about “The Architect to the Stars” through captivating black and white photography. On view through October 2.
The long-lost painting resurfaced at the upscale Urban Gallery in Tel Aviv, sparking the anger of Palestinians.
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This week, the Webb space telescope wows, übernovels, crappy pigeon nests, the problem with “experts,” and much more.