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There’s a whiff of The Gods Must Be Crazy whimsy wafting through Bad Lucky Goat, an affably quirky debut feature by Bogota, Colombia-based Samir Oliveros.
Filmed in the verdant Colombian Caribbean, this satirical yarn about the bad juju that is unleashed after a pair of quibbling siblings inadvertently run over an ill-fated goat unfolds with a storyteller’s eye for small details and surreal asides.
Sent out in their father’s truck to pick up guests headed for their family’s hotel, typical teens Cornelius “Corn” Denton (Honlenny Huffington) and his older sister Rita (Kiara Howard) are too busy bickering to notice the bearded animal (played by Vincent Van Goat) blocking their path. While it appears to have died on impact, which was lucky for the goat, the truck wasn’t as fortunate, forcing Corn and Rita to find the money to get it repaired.
The ticking clock initiates an odyssey that brings them in contact with a cast of colorful characters with names like Brother Rainbow (Elkin Robinson), a Rastafari drum-maker, and Goldie (Ambrosio Huffington), a crimson-bearded pawn broker. Along the way, they gradually overcome their differences while encountering a rich blend of the regional reggae, calypso, soca and mento performed live by an assortment of musicians who lend the film its distinctive flavor.
Writer-director Oliveros does a nice job threading together all the evocative little moments, but more impressive are the relaxed, lightly improvised turns he coaxes out of his non-professional leads, speaking in a heavy local patois accompanied by helpful subtitles.
Their natural performances are effectively framed by the remote Port Paradise locale, with its faded signs and rusted buildings making a lived-in, time-honored statement against the lush island greenery.
The light but evocative result proves as inviting as a gentle tropical breeze.
Cast: Honlenny Huffington, Kiara Howard, Jean Bush Howard, Eduardo Cantillo, Elkin Robinson, Ambrosio Huffington.
Director-screenwriter: Samir Oliveros
Producer: Andres Gomez D
Executive producers: Ikram Zayed, Walid Zayed, Nico Hirschfeld, Beatriz Zobel, Gabriel Oliveros
Director of photography: David Curto
Production designer: Lulu Salgado
Editor: Sebastian Hernandez
Music: Elkin Robinson y Diego Gomez
Venue: South by Southwest (Global)
Sales: Indie PR (Linda Brown Salomone)
In Creole with English subtitles
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