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Erica A. Watson: Roubado

Director: Erica A. Watson

Language: French, Portuguese

Year: 2014

Runtime: 18 mins

“Roubado” is a short film written and directed by Erica A. Watson. It was first premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in 2015 and to date has been featured in over 50 international film festivals. The film was shot on location in Cannes, however it’s more than the setting that makes this film a powerful coming of age story.

Roubado which translates to “Stolen” in Portuguese tells the story of Alain Castelo (Darrell Lake), an introverted Afro-Portuguese teen growing up in the south of France. Still healing after his parent’s recent breakup, the only solace he can muster is in his penchant for photography. Alain’s mother, Augustine Castelo’s (Mickaëlle Bizet) new live-in boyfriend continuously crosses the line. In a heart-wrenching turn of events Alain’s eyes are opened to the world, and he can no longer hide behind the viewfinder of his treasured camera.

“The eyes speak a thousand words” has never been truer, as the story develops Alain’s partly-silent character delivers intense gazes that betray the thoughts and feelings once confined within him. A stellar performance by Alain, who we can’t help but sympathise with, especially after a series of evocative confrontations with his mother’s boyfriend, Gaspard (Jean-Pierre Vertus).

Roubado’s sharp cinematography provides an amplified, emotional landscape; a marriage of rich tones, bold colours and high contrasts illuminate scenes within a majestic widescreen format. The combination of natural and ambient light throughout the film communicate a loss of innocence through a distinct visual language. Roubado is a tribute to the untold stories of emotional and physical abuse that may abide among many family dynamics.

Words: Maggie Ibiam

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