Alexandra Cuesta, “Piensa en MÃ”
Because it’s difficult to put into words, I’ve waited two days to write about my experience seeing a film (not digital video) by Alexandra Cuesta. “Piensa en MÃ” runs for 15 minutes and 6 seconds, and it is shot mainly from inside buses but also on bus stops, and on a freeway. We see latinos and latinas riding the bus in LA, waiting on bus stops, walking, playing. With no words, no narrative plot, this short 16 mm film says more, and more deeply, about contemporary Latino life in LA than any long format documentary or news report that I have seen.
There is a strong formal structure to the film. Doors closing and opening in controlled succession, foregrounded screens and windows (shadows of screens) enveloping persons as in a prison. These give a strong sense of life in LA. What struck was the filmmaker’s style, a belief that people are worth photographing. All people. The camera lingers on girls, fathers, children, people just riding the bus, and lingers, and lingers, in the belief that there is interest and life in just waiting and riding the bus.
The film is richly and completely visual (I guess all film has to be) so it’s hard to say more. I recommend that you see it, really.