still calls herself Albanian, but technically that is no longer true. Regardless of her Balkan nationality issues,
the fashion model is not fluent in Spanish.
Nonetheless, she will have no trouble meeting men in Fernando Frías’s Rezeta (trailer here), which won the narrative
feature Jury Award at the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival.
always seem to work out relatively okay for Rezeta, if not spectacularly so. The
modeling agency that brought her to Mexico is decidedly on the dodgy side, yet
she starts scoring high profile work almost immediately. She gets along reasonably well with most of her
roommates in the company’s model crash pad, but frankly she will not be around
very much. She is not Blanche DuBois, but Rezeta will knowingly slip into some
bad relationships with underwhelming men of means, for obvious reasons. However,
things with Alex, the working class punk rock hipster, might be different. He
definitely catches her eye when they bond over their tattoos, but he plays bafflingly
hard to get.
improvisational, Rezeta the film
chronicles the rise and potential fall of a romantic relationship, with some
culture clash garnish on the side. Even at its best, Rezeta is never particularly deep and there are long stretches of
narrative slack. Still, the Balkan connection lends the Lost in Translation story a fresh angle.
question, lead actress Rezeta Veliu is the film’s winning ace-in-the-hole. Not
just a pretty face, she is also quite a fine screen performer, blessed with a
natural sense of when to dial it up or down. As Alex, Roger Mendoza does not
have a fraction of her screen presence, but at least they develop some credible
chemistry together during their ambiguous courtship scenes.
The occasional glimpses Rezeta offers of the vagabond lives led by not-quite-supermodels
suggests there is more to be mined from this strange world of pseudo-glamour
and exploitation. Clearly, Frías is much more interested in the characters
transparently based on his co-leads, but their interpersonal dramas are rather
hit-or-miss stuff. Regardless, Rezeta obviously made quite an
impression on the jury when it screened at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival.
The combination of its award attention and Veliu’s striking look (she is not a
plastic cookie-cutter type, by any stretch) should secure it plenty of festival
play, including the 2014 Indie Fest in San Francisco, where it screens February
11th, 16th, and 20th.
Labels: Mexican Cinema, Rezeta Veliu, Slamdance '14