Living in rural Peru, 14-year-old Segundo helps his father in his workshop making beautiful retablos, painted box altars with dioramas inside. His kind, encouraging father wants to train him as his apprentice so he will become an artisan and not have to do manual labor like the other boys. As he travels outside their community to deliver the artworks, he is exposed to the world of men and its complications: violence, sex, secrets, alcohol. It’s a wonderful look into life in the Andes, where they still speak their indigenous language and observe the old customs, but also a brutal view of how closed-minded traditional communities can be. (Warning: Includes a strong theme of homophobia.) (GILLIAN ANDERSON)
SIFF Says:Blessed with a photographic memory and an artist’s soul, 14-year-old Segundo (Junior Bejar) is set to follow in his father Noe’s (Amiel Cayo) footsteps as a master crafter of retablos, colorful and richly detailed story-boxes that fetch high prices at their local marketplace and are in high demand within the family’s small, isolated Quechua village in Peru. But while on his way to a celebration in the Andes, Segundo accidentally discovers his troubled father’s secret, the young artist’s world is quickly turned inside out, his life transformed into a simmering storm of anger, confusion, and a growing disillusionment with his village’s often provincial way of thinking. Soon, a misstep puts the family’s secret out on the open, forcing a reckoning between Segundo and his beleaguered mother Anatolia (Magaly Solier, MAGALLANES, SIFF 2010’s THE MILK OF SORROW), as well as with the only place he’s ever known. A powerful, deeply absorbing feature debut from writer/director Alvaro Delgado Aparicio, RETABLO is a Peruvian story of self-realization about how much of our lives are defined by our environment and social class, and what happens when we push against both. RETABLO is a SIFF New Works-in-Progress Forum 2017 film.