VOD film review: Litigante
Ivan Radford | On 15, Jul 2020
Director: Franco Lolli
Cast: Carolina Sanin, Antonio Martinez, Alejandra Sarria, David Roa
Watch Litigante online in the UK: Curzon Home Cinema
“I’ve spent 40 years building my reputation,” Silvia (Carolina Sanin) is told by her boss, as they come under scrutiny for alleged corruption. A lawyer for Bogota’s Public Works department, Silvia is the one tasked with facing the public and providing a calm front, while the accusations of corporate malpractice pile up. She doesn’t know about any of it, she points out to him during one heated conversation – but that’s as close as Litigante gets to a dramatic showdown.
Despite its title, Franco Lolli’s second film is a quiet, measured affair, rather than a fiery drama of legal battles and courtroom confrontations. Instead, the drama comes from Silvia’s family life, where she’s trying to take care of her mother, Leticia (Leticia Gomez), who is dying from cancer, as well as raise her five-year-old son, Antonio (Antonio Martinez), single-handed.
Things aren’t easy, in other words, and Lolli invites us to witness just how many challenges Silvia is juggling with a sympathetic, intimate eye. He draws two superb lead performances out of Carolina and Leticia, who are both non-professional actors; they bring personal stakes that are immediately believable and almost irredeemably barbed, as Leticia (a former lawyer) emerges as too similar to her daughter for them not to clash. The duo’s scenes are the best in the film, and the script – by Lolli, Marie Amachoukeli and Virginie Legeay – teases out their relationship’s complexities and grievances that have been buried for years.
There’s still time, though, for Silvia to embark on a new relationship with Abel (Vladimir Durán), a journalist who gives her a tough grilling at work, before they bump into each other at a party. It’s the kind of twist that could seem implausible were the whole film not so rooted in compelling, realistic characters. The result is a drama that doesn’t necessarily feel like it reaches a crescendo, but also finds its strength in that very fact: this is a portrait of modern motherhood and the stalwart stoicism it requires.
Litigante is available to rent on Curzon Home Cinema.