After three years in the making it was under a great roar of applause Jeremiah Sagar’s film was received at the Tribeca film festival.
The film, We The Animals, adapted from the Justin Torres novel of the same title, is a magnificent collaboration between the author and the filmmaker. From the subject matter, to the aesthetics and the casting, everything in Jeremiah’s creation seems in perfect symbiosis offering a truly lifting picture. Filmed over a year in Utica, New York on 16 mm film, the textures of the images are a thing to see in themselves but they are disrupted by flashes of truly artistic animation by Hugo Costa that give the film an indescriptible lushness in material. These images depict the lives of three young brothers, Manny, Joel and Jonah as they tear their way through childhood and try and understand the adult world represented by their charismatic Puerto Rican father, Paps, and evasive mother named Ma. The casting is nothing short of exceptional as it took a full year to find these three boys (Evan Rosado, Josiah Gabriel and Isaiah Kristian) who had never acted a day in their lives. Filtered through more than one thousand auditions, numerous trips to South American parades and schools all over the United States comes out pure talent. Evan Rosado is one of these faces and one of these gazes that the camera just adores as he draws it to him in the most captivating manner. Paps, played by Raùl Castillo also deserves an honorable mention for his striking performance being able to portray both the violence and the tenderness that can coexist in a father. If this is a film about family life it is also on personal growth, on feeling different and being afraid to ask why. As the youngest brother experiences new feelings that he does not know how to process, other than writing them or drawing them in a hidden notebook, the director manages to capture, through vivid metaphors, these muddled childhood emotions giving us a stunning and rhythmic film and a wild and sharp poetry.
Opens in Theaters on Friday, August 17.