Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


Sofia is an unusual coming-of-age story. A 17-year-old boy, still in his school uniform, still living at home with his parents, one day meets a mysterious woman in the street. She grabs his arm as he passes, taking him a an escort to evade the death squad that is after her. Pedro becomes fascinated by Sofia: he searches the streets for her, follows her, helps her, hides her, and finally falls deeply in love with her, even though he himself has no political beliefs.

Pedro’s parents become concerned at his absences: “These are not normal times,” as his mother puts it. Everywhere that Pedro and Sofia meet, people seem to be getting nabbed (out of the movie theatre in the midst of a comedy, at the train station). The Ford Falcons that became the official vehicle of the military police’s unofficial raids can be seen in the background, guns showing out the windows. When Pedro and Sofia finally hole up at an empty country house, his sexual initiation begins. Doria conveys the banality of dictatorship perfectly, from the fascist lecture in the classroom to the obsession with documents and order, but he equally captures the terrors of daily life under the junta. The swift and arbitrary sweeps of the military are no less terrifying than the cool indifference of the unendangered bourgeoisie.

Alejandro Doria is one of the Generation of the 60’s. His recent films include Darse Cuenta and Esperando La Carroza , both popular successes that, like SOFIA, draw attention to serious social issues within the framework of a commercial narrative style.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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