The hat trick of awards presented to the director and main actors at last year’s Locarno Film Festival promises an exhilarating viewing experience. Most of the time, awards do not necessarily guarantee a great movie, but in this case, it means that the director has managed to create a safe space, where the actors can really shine and explore some at times very sensitive themes.
I Have Electric Dreams tells the story of 16-year-old Eva, who lives with her mother and sister. Mother wants to renovate the house, get rid of the cat and start a new chapter in her life, which makes Eva want to move in with her father. Despite her love for him, moving is not easy, since her father is lost in his life, trying to cope with his anger issues and sudden outbursts of violence.
Scents, textures, and looks are used to create a dreamlike atmosphere, which surrounds the main character as she deals with her sexual awakening and violent surroundings. Writer-director Maurel utilises editing, sound design and cinematography masterfully, each area working in perfect harmony with each other. The result is a reality that is both poetic and authentic, where even the family cat seems to be acting according to the script.
Costa Rican VALENTINA MAUREL (b. 1988) has quickly emerged as one of the most exciting newcomers in world cinema. Maurel studied film in Belgium, and her graduation film Paul est là (2017) won the main prize in Cannes Film Festival’s student section Cinéfondation. In her next work, Maurel returned to her Costa Rican roots with the short film Lucía en el limbo (2019), which explores the sexual awakening of a young girl, also premiering at Cannes at the La Semaine de la Critique. After the successful short films, the sensuous, Locarno Film Festival award-winning debut film I Have Electric Dreams continued the refinement of themes and style and is yet another testament to her rising talent.