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Postcards from Leningrad - feature - film review SIFF 2008
by Karen Pecota

An explanation of war through the eyes of a child can be misconstrued but is often creatively interesting. A child-like perspective means that they have not learned to view life in gray tones but rather in black and white. Children have the ability to take the absolute reality of their every day existence and mix it with some imagination in order to take them to a colorful world that is far beyond where they normally reside. Film director and screenwriter, Mariana Rondón, uses this premise for the backdrop of Postcards from Leningrad.

Two beautiful Spanish children, La Niña (Claudia Usubiliage) and her endearing cousin Teo (Laureano Olivares), use their imagination to narrate a personal story because they are products of Venezuelan political revolutionaries. La Niña receives postcards from Leningrad which is her only hope that one day she will be united with her mother. However, the more the children eavesdrop on their relatives’ adult conversations regarding the guerilla activity, a concern for their parent’s safety conjure up their Invisible Man. He is to bring their loved ones out of harm’s way, however, not without the help of La Niña and Teo.

For the Spanish-speaking audience this whimsical narrative is most engaging and the use of South America’s beautiful people attracts still a larger audience. However, the most interesting aspect regarding this film is the mesmerizing splendor of the cinematography. The clarity in the technical art of filming is awesome! One is quickly drawn into the colorful world of a childlike imagination even at the expense of the horrific casualties of war where many children, like La Niña and Teo, have lost their childhood.