Family, Identity, and the Environment: a Compelling Cinematic Mélange

Family, Identity, and the Environment: a Compelling Cinematic Mélange

The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future (La vaca que cantó una canción hacia el futuro)


Genre: Drama
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 33m
Director(s): Francisca Alegría
Writer(s): Francisca Alegría
Cast: Mía Maestro, Leonor Varela
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Where To Watch: opens May 19 at the Quad Cinema in NY and May 26 at the Landmark Nuart in LA, followed by national expansion

RAVING REVIEW: Francisca Alegria's directorial debut, THE COW WHO SANG INTO THE FUTURE, takes you on a wild, heartwarming journey. Who knew what to expect? That just proves why I try not to watch trailers at all costs. This was a trippy cinematic cocktail that mixed elements of fantasy and reality. It's a visual spectacle that confronts some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Come with us to a once-vibrant region in southern Chile, now gasping for breath under the heavy cloud of pollution. The story unfurls with the jarring sight of a river overflowing with dying fish, a stark metaphor for our planet's grave health. Then, from this grim backdrop, comes Magdalena (Mía Maestro) — a woman who brings life to the film's narrative, even while mixed with so much suffering. The eerily silent Magdalena is our guide as we traverse the complex web of this family's past and present. Without spoiling the twist, Magdalena allows this story to be told with its unique and creative (and sometimes confusing) narrative.

THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE consistently reminds us of the damage done to our environment and how close we are to the point of no return. This ticking clock mirrors the struggles of Cecilia (Leonor Varela), a successful city-based surgeon grappling with familial responsibilities and the acceptance (or lack thereof) of her trans child's identity with the more significant environmental crisis. Alegria's storytelling seamlessly intermixes these personal and global concerns, creating a compelling story that engages the audience while trying to help us understand the simplicity of both issues at the core.

Alegria, with THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE, vividly illustrates the complex intertwining of human relationships and nature. This isn't merely a story; it's a call to action, challenging us to shatter the cycle of generational trauma and environmental degradation. Some people will find this film to be an uncomfortable confrontation, and honestly, that’s what it's here for; that’s what we should strive to do in more independent films. Sometimes answering the tough questions will result in the most positive responses.

THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE explores grief, rebirth, and the connection between humanity and nature. Alegria infuses contemporary anxieties into the story, creating a haunting and vibrant atmosphere. Despite the film's slow burn, Alegria's debut is still compelling. THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE proposes that by addressing and learning from the errors of our past—both in our relationships and our interaction with nature, we can lay the groundwork for a brighter, more sustainable future.

Ultimately, THE COW WHO SANG A SONG INTO THE FUTURE is a magical-laced journey that navigates the rough seas of grief and renewal, the human bond with nature, and the urgency of being held responsible for what we’ve done to our world. Despite its sad themes, it gives us hope, a testament to resilience—in the face of personal loss and global crisis.

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[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER]

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