Hamburg Review: ‘Cocote’ is a Drama of Visual Virtuosity and Tantalizing Promise

Fans of fierce, challenging indigenous cinema rejoice. It’s not every day that you see a film from and depicting the life in the Dominican Republic, let alone one as intriguing as Cocote. Writer/director De Los Santos Arias’ feature debut shines a light on an underrepresented part of the world and casts a truly outlandish spell that confounds and overwhelms. Fair warning: sheer cultural divide would most likely prevent a deeper appreciation of the film, but the authenticity and intensity of its voice alone proves excitingly – if also gruelingly – memorable.

The protagonist Alberto (a brooding, charismatic Vicente Santos) works as a gardener at an über-affluent family in the island state’s capital. This key bit of background information is communicated efficiently through two static shots of a giant, shockingly beautiful swimming pool that more or less bracket the movie. Though seen from afar to take in the royal height
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