Top Shorts Review: A Step Behind
In "A Step Behind", Javier, the youngest of three brothers and son of a workaholic father, visits his parents’ house along with his wife to spend Christmas with the family. As the evening goes by, Javier is forced to revive some old conflicts with his father, bringing their relationship closer and closer to chaos.
The ensemble cast did a great job, delivering natural performances throughout, thanks to the director who gave each of the characters a precise characterization, making it easy to feel them – who they are and what they believe in.
The protagonist Javier, played by David Zorrilla, is a man of values. His wife Camila (Dulce Medina) is just like Javier. She's supports her husband, but at the same time respects his father. Maria and Sofia (Sandra Márquez and Julieta Escobar) are Javier's sisters-in-law. While their husbands work on Christmas day, they don’t miss an opportunity to offend Javier. Javier's mother, played by Rosa M. Álvarez is clearly on Javier's side, although she doesn't have the courage to confront her husband. And finally, Don Gerardo, played by Gerardo Aviña, is a fascinating character. He starts as a cold, stiff man, who only cares about money and success. And he's not the only one.
It seems like everyone in the family puts money first, including Javier's brothers who don't even bother to spend time with the family on Christmas, and their wives. After his sister-in-law and his father insult him ("Are you still making little videos?"), Javier strikes back: "You know there are more important things in life than money, right?". Javier's father replies, and the tension between the two characters increases.
They meet again at the balcony, and it becomes clear that the conflict between Javier and his father is much deeper. They reveal it all, with no masks. Surprisingly, as the story progresses and you get to know Javier's father, he suddenly reveals a softer, more humane side. At some point, after being a classic antagonist, he becomes vulnerable and honest. For the first time, he's not being sarcastic. The father's long monologue about his own father was brilliant, not only because it helped the audience get to know his characteristic and understand him, but also because it arrived exactly at the right moment, when the audience (and maybe Javier, too) was ready to accept him.
I loved the message of the film: "If you don't go out there and get what you want, nobody will hand it to you." It gives a deeper meaning to the story, and a lot of inspiration.
Cristobal Abugaber Muñoz won an Honorable Mention: First Time Director at Top Shorts (March 2019).
I am a Mexican director born and raised in Leon Guanajuato, Mexico. When I was 14 years old, I discovered my passion for filmmaking and started doing home movies with my friends. When I turned 19 years old, I founded a commercials production company named Ghost Cat Films.
After five years of working on commercials, in 2018 I wrote and directed my first short film: A Step Behind, from which I got inspired by all the trouble I had to go through with my family after making the choice of leaving the family business to go out and pursue my dream of studying filmmaking in Los Angeles.
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