Directed by: Laura Astorga, Writing credits: Laura Astorga
Principle actors: Fernando Bolanos, Maria Jose Callejas, Valeria Conejo
Princesas Rojas is the story of two sisters (Valeria Conejo and Aura Dinarte) who flee from Nicaragua to Costa Rica with their Sandinista activist parents (Fernando Bolanos and Maria Jose Callejas). The eldest daughter Claudia (Valeria Conejo) does not truly understand what is going on around her, and doesn't realize the consequences of her actions. She does not understand why the family abruptly moves from Nicaragua to Costa Rica, nor why she is no longer allowed to proudly show off her communist scout medals. All she does understand is that her life has been turned upside down, possibly forever.
The greatest strength of Princesas Rojas is that it is told from the eyes of a child because it allowed the audience to see how the actions of the parents affect the lives of the child. That being said, Claudia's limited understanding of the events unfolding allows the more casual viewer to be as confused as her. I was not aware of the Nicaraguan Revolution prior to watching Princesas Rojas, and after finishing I was confused about the political events transpiring through the movie. However, the ending was truly jaw-dropping, and really hits home the idea of how war can truly destroy families. Although I wonder how accessible this film is to a younger audience as it was marketed at Berlinale in the Generation 14+ section and yet its storytelling is, at times, quite obtuse. But Claudia's frustration and pain are very poignantly expressed even without truly understanding what was happening politically, and perhaps that is more important and universally understood regardless of comprehending the political history. (Rose F.)