Patrick (Joel Hogan) is a fresh out of jail ex-con trying to make a rightful living in the always struggling Los Angeles. When his former associate, Dolph (Donald Prabatah), is released from prison, Patrick is seduced once again by the sleazy crime life. The duo comes up with a supposedly easy con: Patrick seduces trophy wives and Dolph kidnaps them, asking their wealthy and neglectful husbands for some juicy ransom money.
But everything collapses when they come across a target that might turn into something more than just another con for the kind-hearted Patrick. And just like that, everything about Chameleon gets turned upside down, delivering an intriguing genre-bending that mutates into something way more complex and deeper than previously anticipated.
Marcus Mizelle’s second feature film takes you for a trip deep down L.A.’s shady reality hidden in plain sight and broad daylight, filled with misogynistic millionaires and their often-mischievous wives. Adding an unorthodox antihero to the mix, debating himself between one last big score and a solid chance to turn his life around.
As the plot thickens, layer after layer of paranoia and suspense are thrown into the mix. Chameleon’s non-linear narrative and slow-paced rhythm turns a small crime story into a thought-provoking piece that earns unexpected rewatchablity value.
Ale Turdó —Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alejandro is a film critic and movie enthusiast that has been writing about movies for the past 7 years, covering everything from blockbusters to indie gems and all in between. He majored in Sound Design and Cinematography in college and is a full time digital content producer. He’s the kind of guy that thinks that even the worst movie can have something interesting to write about. Additionally, he writes for Escribiendo Cine and A Sala Llena.Twitter: @aleturdo and IG: @hoysalecine
En el Séptimo Día (On the Seventh Day) tells the story of José (Fernando Cardona) a Mexican immigrant working and living in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He lives in an overcrowded apartment with his friends. Every day they work at a local restaurant, washing dishes, delivering food and bussing tables. Others sell cotton candy on the street, work construction jobs, etc. On the seventh day, Sunday, they’re free to do what they love the most: play soccer. The story follows José and his friends during one week which starts with a semi-final tournament and ends with the much anticipated final game. The problem is José’s boss, who considers him the most valued employee among the immigrant workers at the restaurant, needs him to work on Sunday for a private event. But this means José, who is also the most valued player on his soccer team, will have to miss the game. With each new day we are exposed to aspects of José’s life including his coworkers, his friends, the blue collar workers he meets on his delivery route as well as the pregnant wife waiting for him in Mexico. In the end, José has to chose between the work that feeds him and the joy that sustains him.
“I don’t see any other way. Either we get slaughtered or I get fired.” – José
En el Séptimo Día is a poignant drama about an underrepresented group of individuals who are an important part of the fabric of American society. This quiet film is about finding small joys in a life filled with endless work. You just don’t see stories about Hispanic immigrants. Perhaps first and second generation Latino Americans but not immigrants who are starting a new life in America. And in a time where ICE reigns and our nation is plagued with fear mongering, a humane story about Mexican immigrants adds some empathy and understanding where it was lacking before.
The film was written, produced and directed by Jim McKay, best known for his stories about average folks including Girls Town (1996), Our Song (2000) and Everyday People (2004). According to an interview on the Cinema Guild website, McKay’s inspiration for the film came from a variety of sources including his own work on Our Song and Everyday People, his wife’s documentary La Boda, and his own experience working in a restaurant alongside Mexician immigrant workers from the Yucatan. The biggest source was Mexican New York by Robert Smith, a book profiling a community of immigrants from Puebla, Mexico who had settled in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
The majority of the cast members, including the star Fernando Cardona, are non-actors. McKay said, “the film is about Mexican immigrants and I was determined to make it with Mexican immigrants.” He sought out not only Mexicans but ones based in Sunset Park where the story takes place. However in the interview McKay makes it clear that the actors are playing characters and not themselves. The film was shot over 19 days in June and July of 2016 in Sunset Park, Park Slope and Gowanus in Brooklyn, NY. A few scenes were shot on a rainy day on October. McKay injects as much realism in his film which watches like a hybrid feature film/documentary.
The movie is primarily in Spanish with several conversations in English. It adds authenticity to the story. McKay and his team did a great job casting the variety of players especially Fernando Cardona who delivers a fine performance and is just captivating to watch on screen. I fell in love with this movie and its characters and was rooting on for José. I particularly enjoyed one scene when José is waiting outside a building where he’s going to make a delivery. He meets a blue collar worker who speaks Spanish and they chat about their mutual love for soccer. It’s a brilliant moment when commonality brings together two people from seemingly very different worlds.
En el Séptimo Día stole my heart. This is one you won’t want to miss.
En el Séptimo Día is showing in theaters across the country through August and September. Visit the Cinema Guild website for details.