Review: Boi de Conchas (Sundance 2024)

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Title: Boi de Conchas (The Shell Covered Ox)
Director: Daniel Barosa
Starring: Bebé Salvego, Daniela Dams, Walter Balthazar
Runtime: 15 mins

What It Is: While mourning her missing sister, Rayane (Salvego) balances helping her fisherman father and practicing for the school’s music festival – provided she doesn’t become an ox first, a misfortune assailing several teenagers in the area.

What We Think:  A somber connection between mythos and family drama is beneath the layers of Boi de Conchas. There is a mystic sense of yearning from our lead character that is felt through Daniel Barosa’s patient hand guiding the camera through adolescent woes and folkloric undertones. The performances, which are superb, have an affecting effect with this in mind, especially Bebé Salvego, the lead – she is very perceptive of what the whole ox conundrum might be about. Her main inspiration seems to be from death metal band  Krisiun, playing in the mix, hoping to work its way into her bass-playing skills. There is a lot to take away from this short, which is one of the main reasons why I enjoyed it.

Our Grade: A; Daringly ambiguous but mysteriously enticing, Boi de Conchas makes me want to see more from this director. Premiering January 21st at The Prospector.

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