Tribeca Film Festival 2022 Report 3: CARAJITA & ATTACHMENT

One of my favorite times of the year is coming to a close. While I miss the NYC vibe, I was able to enjoy some terrific new content and to see some new emerging artists. In my last report, I talk horror but in two different ways. One is distinctly within the genre; the other has its horror elements woven into a heartbreaking drama.

Carajita (Ulises Porra, Silvina Schnicer)

Tribeca Film Festival 2022, Report 3: CARAJITA & ATTACHMENT
Carajita (2022) – source: Tribeca Film Festival

From the first opening shot, ominously portraying police headlights on a body curled on the beach, we know something is coming. The “what” as it is revealed, ended up being even more heartwrenching than I could have prepared for.

Sarah (Cecile van Welie) and her family, including nanny Yarisa (Magnolia Nunez) have just moved back to Argentina. This is where Yarisa and her estranged family are from, including her daughter Mallory (Adelanny Padilla) who is around Sarah’s age. From the start, we can see Sarah and Yarisa have been close ever since she was a child. From a wealthy family, Sarah is not without her spoils, but their relationship has always felt unique and special, despite her being a hired hand.

Not long after they arrive, Yarisa spends time with her daughter. When Mallory attends a party with others, including Sarah and her brother Álvaro (Javier Hermida), they have a heavy night of drinking and Mallory doesn’t return home. From there, everyone’s lives are flipped upside down.

From the directing duo of Ulises Porra and Silvina Schnicer, Carajita tests a loving relationship and the difference that class and privilege make. This was one of the more harrowing films I saw this Tribeca, (the other Blaze) and it does so with careful consideration. The performances, especially those of our two leading ladies, are moving and gut-wrenching. There is a narrative theme of the protection (and how far you’ll go) of those you care for, which strikes a big nerve by the end. The film really has us monitoring class differences, guilt, and the yearning for justice. The cinematography by Sergio Armstrong and Iván Gierasinchuk and the set design by Claudia Madera work to create an environment that emulates tension and disparity. 

This film is only 96 minutes, leaving little room for anything but feeling. When the credits rolled with their emotional ending, I wanted to scream into the ether. It’s not an overly complex plot, but the character dynamics are. I don’t want to relay too many of the specifics, but it’s definitely one that will turn your stomach to lead.

There’s an intense amount of imagery with goats, and close-up shots that feel especially personal and pointed. It’s a compelling story, and this is in large point to the narrative, but also the performances. Its one mistake is spending time away from our two leads, who feel like they are on alternate ends of a rope, a tether once so strong quickly becomes unraveled. 

From the start, we know it’s leading somewhere discomforting, but we don’t know specifics. This unknown keeps us engaged, as the details of what really happened unfurls. Magnolia Núñez is really the standout of the film, bringing Yarisa to life with earnest and deft energy. I mentioned horror at the beginning of this report and the reason is simple: this is a wholly unsettling film, from its first to last, creepy shot. Carajita is a heartbreakingly effective and compelling film that’s beautifully shot with talented performances. 

Attachment (Gabriel Bier Gislason)

Tribeca Film Festival 2022, Report 3: CARAJITA & ATTACHMENT
Attachment (2022) – source: Tribeca Film Festival

Attachment starts out in Denmark with a very sweet meet-cute, as actress Maja (Josephine Park) and young Jewish student Leah (Ellie Kendrick) quite literally run into each other as Leah is late for work. The two fall in love nearly overnight, which brings upon a predicament when it’s known that Leah has a return flight home to the UK.

Their sudden romance (which could have felt disingenuous but doesn’t) seems the kind often found in movies; they felt a deep connection right away. The two leads have a chemistry that makes this believable and when it’s time for them to part, they both feel as if it just can’t happen. Leah stays but when she suffers a seizure, she returns home and Maja decides to go with her.

Here she shares a home with her mother, Chana (Sofie Gråbøl), who seems to be oddly protective over Leah, not in just a motherly way, but one that gives the sense that there’s something sinister here. As a horror movie set in a Jewish Orthodox community, as well as the dynamics of new love and family traditions, this is an intriguing film.

This is a film that starts as romance but moves into horror fairly fast. Once they relocate, things start seeming weird. Odd nightly disturbances and experiences that seem to be paranormal continue to arise. Some of them are creepy sounds, while other eerie discoveries lead to Maja finding strange items around the apartment. Soon, Maja recognizes something is off and quickly turns to Chana as a responsible source.

Sofie Gråbøl is quite intimidating – this is not a meet-the-parents moment you crave. Before we know the full story; she’s quite the formidable foe. Despite it being a new romance, Maja is protective of Leah as well and wants what’s best for her. She tries to form a genuine relationship with Chana but as things become weirder she witnesses some behavior that is trouble (along with the assistance of Chana’s brother (David Dencik) who gives her further insight) she recognizes the danger that the two of them are in. In many ways Attachment is a love story, in both a romantic way and a familial one. It’s about what we are willing to do for those we love.

Maja feels at odds with Chana and her concerns seem unbelievable to Leah (rightfully so) but this tale is one of a bewitching tapestry of genres making it an enthralling tale. What’s really going on? All is revealed in the end, but it takes its time to divulge. Attachment uses Jewish mythology (specifically a dybbuk) in a fascinating and haunting way.

There’s no doubt this is a slow burn of a film, and for the most part it keeps that fire roaring. Attachment is an interesting take on horror, mixing romance and family dynamics of the strangest kind.

In his feature debut, writer-director Gabriel Bier Gislason crafts a truly compelling narrative that makes for an experience that caters to the paranormal audience but also expands it to something original. Terrific performances, an atmospheric vibe, and intriguing concepts make Attachment a must-see. Don’t sleep on this one. Well, you probably won’t sleep much after, anyway.

That finishes my coverage of Tribeca 2022, until next year!

Both films premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2022. 

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