Contemporary World Cinema

SIFF Says:

A big sensation in Cuban cinema, Behavior represents an exciting new chapter in its candor and courage in exposing flaws in the government education system. Directed with swagger and sensitivity by former documentarian Ernesto Daranas, it charts the relationship between an impoverished 11-year old boy, Chala (newcomer Armanda Valdes Fereire), and his older teacher (Alina Rodriguez) who sees a potential in Chala that no on else ever has. Living with his single, alcoholic mother, the young boy is forced to survive by his wits. In order to keep food on their table he sells carrier pigeons and trains mutts for a neighbor’s illegal dogfights. The authorities find out and don’t approve, sending him off for what is euphemistically referred to as “re-education.” When his teacher discovers this, she fights to get him back in her classroom where he belongs. Behavior is an authentic drama that pushes the envelopes in order to shed light on some of Cuba’s injustices and maybe provide a little hope.

Stranger Says:

An 11-year-old bad seed forms an unusual alliance with his teacher, a middle-aged idealist on the verge of being pushed out by the system. Cuba’s submission for last year’s Oscars, this admirably unvarnished take on childhood compensates for some shaky technique with plenty of heart. Uplifting, but never cloyingly so. (ANDREW WRIGHT)

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Film Credits
Ernesto Daranas
Alina Rodríguez, Armando Valdés Freire, Silvia Águila, Yuliet Cruz, Amaly Junco
SIFF 2015