NewFest: Young & Wild
By Alex Panisch
In a world where Chekhov’s gun has already gone off so many times the trigger’s snapped off, the significance of a blog in a film isn’t lost on any viewer. Something posted, tumbled, or tweeted in the first act will come back to bite the uploader in the third. With this bit of foreshadowing explained away, one can better approach Marialy Rivas’s Blogspot Bildungsroman, Young & Wild.
Daniela (Alicia Rodríguez) is a petite, sexually adventurous 17-year-old from a conservative Evangelical family in Santiago, Chile. After being kicked out of her religious school when the administration discovers that the horny teen has tasted of the forbidden fruit, her overbearing mother (Aline Küppenheim) forces her to work at a Christian television network or face being sent to do missionary work. It is at this network where Daniela meets the two future players in her bisexual love triangle. One is her sultry co-worker Antonia (María Gracia Omegna) and the other her religious supervisor Tomás (Felipe Pinto).
Like any film with a love triangle as part of the plot, things get complicated and unmanageable. While all the actors are excellent, Rodríguez’s performance as a bratty teen stands out for being realistic without being wholly off-putting. It's in the technical aspects, however, where Young & Wild really shines. Rivas expertly folds in Daniela’s blog, Joven y alocada (literal translation: “young and wild”), to the film, which is based on the real life blog
of a Chilean teenager, written between 2005 and 2007. Through the use of cutaways to Daniela’s various readers posting comments and SMS messages popping up on screen as they would on your desktop, the blog becomes much more than a plot point; it works its way into every aspect of the movie.
Although the use of GIFs, pixilated images, and on-screen text is no longer an original concept in independent cinema, it is used well here, and it adds to the total atmosphere. The film doesn’t set out to make a statement about teenagers and the Internet, rather it focuses on Daniela’s spiritual and sexual awakening: the Internet is merely one component of it.
Young & Wild screens as NewFest's Closing Night Film July 31 at 8:30 p.m.
Watch the trailer below