I have Electric Dreams | Tengo (2022) Mubi

August 16th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Valentina Maurel | Cast: Vivian Rodriguez, Daniela Marin Navarro, Jose Pablo Segrada Johanning, Reinaldo Amien

A 16-year-old girl blazes a trail towards female empowerment in this sultry cinematic snapshot of contempo Costa Rica from writer director Valentina Maurel.

Impressionistic and with a lubricious eye for detail Tengo Suenos Electricos oozes sensuality in exploring every angle of Eva’s world as she struggles to make sense of her parent’s ugly separation. Held together by a stunning debut from Daniela Marin Navarra as Eva this raw but enchanting drama is one of the standouts of this year’s Golden Leopard competition lineup at Locarno Film Festival.  

Eva really gets on with her father and wants to move in with him, but all the warning signs are there in a squalid opening scene where he struts violently away from the family car leaving her mother and younger sister quaking in the abandoned vehicle.

Overwhelmed by confuson, anger and bewilderment intermingled with all the mysterious changes of puberty Eva struggles to cope before finally taking control of the jealous mistrust she feels for her mother and a love/hate relationship with her broke and mentally unstable father who is experiencing a crisis of his own and has moved into a shabby apartment with his friend Dove who will give her a first taste of lust and disappointment. Eva’s baptism of fire smoulders into an often confrontational but more confident future. At least her mother has left her in no doubt about what to expect from men, she also learns that women like to talk about the ‘sisterhood’ but are in fact just competitors vying for the same sordid male gene pool.

Daniela Marin Navarra navigates the role of Eva with instinct, developing her character from sullen vulnerability to surprising maturity until she finally calls time on her father’s behaviour in a film that drenches and scalds you with its tropical charm inculcated by Nicolas Wong Diaz captivating camerawork and Bertand Conard’s inspired editing. Valentina Maurel won the Cannes Cinefondation Award for her short Paul Est La in 2017, and with Suenos Electricos now has all the makings of a very accomplished filmmaker. MT


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