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FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE FEATURE NARRATIVE

BEAR CUB

TFF 2004
FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE BEAR CUB [TFF 2004]

The definition of family is triumphantly explored in Miguel Albaladejo's moving comedy/drama Bear Cub (Cachorro). From the opening scene we learn that this story will diverge from a narrow view of the nuclear family. We meet Pedro, unabashedly and fondly known as a "bear" -- a gay male who is big and hairy. This full-frontal introduction to Pedro's active lifestyle gives us no indication about the change about to arrive in the form of his 11-year-old nephew Bernardo, who is staying with him, albeit grudgingly, while his hippie mother goes to India for two weeks. Pedro is willing to play the "proper" uncle to his nephew -- starting with "de-gaying" his apartment -- until he learns that Bernardo already knows about his lifestyle. As they learn to trust one another, news comes that Bernardo's mother has been arrested, making Bernardo's visit a permanent arrangement. Pedro must adjust to being a full-fledged guardian, accepting all the challenges of rearing a child. The two gradually gain a stronger bond that is disrupted by Bernardo's paternal grandmother, Dona, previously exiled from his life, who wants custody and will use Pedro's lifestyle against him to get it. Albaladejo never stoops to over-sentimentality nor sensationalism, allowing this amusingly touching piece, with a bit of Kramer vs. Kramer drama, to evolve on its own. Along with a timely, poignant story, Bear Cub also draws emotional power from the amazing chemistry of its two leads, veteran Jose Luis García-Perez as Pedro, and shining youngster David Castillo as Bernardo.

The definition of family is triumphantly explored in Miguel Albaladejo's moving comedy/drama Bear Cub (Cachorro). From the opening scene we learn that this story will diverge from a narrow view of the nuclear family. We meet Pedro, unabashedly and fondly known as a "bear" -- a gay male who is big and hairy. This full-frontal introduction to Pedro's active lifestyle gives us no indication about the change about to arrive in the form of his 11-year-old nephew Bernardo, who is staying with him, albeit grudgingly, while his hippie mother goes to India for two weeks. Pedro is willing to play the "proper" uncle to his nephew -- starting with "de-gaying" his apartment -- until he learns that Bernardo already knows about his lifestyle. As they learn to trust one another, news comes that Bernardo's mother has been arrested, making Bernardo's visit a permanent arrangement. Pedro must adjust to being a full-fledged guardian, accepting all the challenges of rearing a child. The two gradually gain a stronger bond that is disrupted by Bernardo's paternal grandmother, Dona, previously exiled from his life, who wants custody and will use Pedro's lifestyle against him to get it. Albaladejo never stoops to over-sentimentality nor sensationalism, allowing this amusingly touching piece, with a bit of Kramer vs. Kramer drama, to evolve on its own. Along with a timely, poignant story, Bear Cub also draws emotional power from the amazing chemistry of its two leads, veteran Jose Luis García-Perez as Pedro, and shining youngster David Castillo as Bernardo.

Film Information
Year: 2004
Length: 99 minutes
Language: Spanish
Country: Spain
Premiere: New York
About the Director(s)

Born in Alicante, Spain in 1966, Miguel Albaladejo has worked as a production assistant and created several short films. In 1998, he made his feature film debut with La Primera Noche de mi Vida, part of a millennium project "2000 seen by…," produced by Arte, the Franco-German cultural broadcaster. His children's film, Manolito Gafotas (Manolito Four-Eyes) premiered at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival and has played in film festivals around the world. He has also directed El Cielo Abierto (Ten Days Without Love) (2001) starring Sergi Lopez and Rencor (Rancor) (2002) starring Cuban heartthrob Jorgé Perugorria.

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