Too Late to Die Young
Stripped of the overwhelming qualities of the material world, Dominga Sotomayor’s beautiful Too Late to Die Young finds itself in a Chilean artistic utopia in the early 1990s. It’s a film that centers on the lives of men, women, and children in a commune adjacent to the Andes, where the illusion that their society resembles Eden is both what keeps some people in and fends others off. As Sotomayor’s camera scours the community, she fixes her gaze on Sofia (Demian Hernández). The ebullient young woman finds herself in an unharmonious position, perpetually tethered against oppositional forces. Whether it’s contending for affection from her emotionally distant father, entirely absent mother, or fending off the advances of boys her age in favor of an older man, Sofia’s dissatisfaction with the community grows – here, things may be blissful, but it’s painfully uneventful bliss.
Sotomayor’s flourishes are graceful, capturing Sofia’s rumbling rebellion through quiet, ephemeral gestures. And Sofia’s gradual discontent is matched with that of the community, where break-ins and canine strife ornate the subtle, unsentimental tapestry, concluding in a moment that serves to dismantle the illusion of a heavenly enclave. The potent imagery is only highlighted by another corresponding image, that of Sofia reaching a waterfall, in a sight that resembles the young woman being consumed by the Earth, swallowed whole. Eden is only what you make of it.