Tallinn Review: Rubén Mendoza’s ‘Niña Errante’ is a Poignant Portrait of Sisterly Love

A flock of dark, wavy hair covers Ángela’s luminous face as she stares at her father’s casket a few minutes into Rubén Mendoza’s heart-wrenchingly humane Niña Errante (The Wandering Girl). Ángela (preternaturally talented Sofía Paz Jara) is twelve, her mother died at birth, and her dad just passed away in a motorcycle accident. Stranded in Cali, Colombia, with no relatives who can look after her, she attends the funeral with her three estranged and older step-sisters: Carolina (Carolina Ramírez), Paula (Lina Marcela Sánchez), and Gabriela (María Camila Mejía). They have flocked to bid farewell to a father they seldom knew, and have agreed to drive across the country to leave Ángela in the hands of an old aunt, lest she be handed to the government’s child protection agency.

Thus begins a mesmeric journey that blends the candor of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister with the
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