A Happy Sunday (Un Domingo Feliz)

Institute History

  • 1989 Sundance Film Festival


For Silvino Ochoa, a thirty-year-old musician, this should be a Sunday like any other. But things do not turn out as he expects. Just before nightfall, he runs into Carlitos Arismendi, a friendly little ten-year-old boy, who is a wizard at electronics. Silvino is none too convinced by the explanation Carlitos gives for his being out walking alone in that part of the city, but they don’t ask each other questions, and a spontaneous friendship springs up. What Silvino does not know is that Carlitos is, in fact, the only son of a young married couple, millionaires. Feeling neglected by them, and after finding out they have arranged to send him abroad to finish his studies at an exclusive boarding school, he decides to put his parents through a terrible ordeal, by staging his own kidnapping.

While, in the Arismendi’s mansion, his parents are getting together the enormous ransom that Carlitos—posing as the kidnapper—has demanded, the kid trails round the city with his friend, the musician, going into bars and nightclubs, discovering the dazzling nightlife of Caracas: the atmosphere in the nightclubs and bars where one goes looking for love, and the illusions painted by the brilliant neon colors. This is the world where people furtively meet and miss each other, a world full of the disturbing taste of the forbidden.

At home, Carlitos’s parents confess their blame to each other and lay their cards on the table, making convenient arrangements for the future. Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Carlitos is, for the first time in his life, living a real adventure. The emptiness he felt before has now been filled by warmth and friendship. It is a happy Sunday. However, the police have been called in to search for the child, and to trap the supposed kidnappers. As they start their search, a web is woven around Carlitos and his friend.

— Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Screening Details

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