An Authentic Glimpse Into Hidden Lives

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MOVIE REVIEW
Simon of the Mountain (Simón de la Montaña)

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Genre: Drama
Year Released: 2024
Runtime: 1h 37m
Director(s): Federico Luis
Writer(s): Federico Luis, Tomás Murphy, Agustín Toscano
Cast: Lorenzo Ferro, Pehuén Pedie, Kiara Supini, Laura Nevole, Agustín Toscano, Camila Hirane
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Where To Watch: showing at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival


RAVING REVIEW: With sweeping vistas, heartfelt acting, and a powerful narrative, SIMON OF THE MOUNTAIN crafts this story as emotionally stirring as it is visually arresting. The film introduces us to Simon (Lorenzo Ferro,) a young man who will learn what it means to live outside his world. Yet, the crux of his journey lies in the heartening and transformative relationships he forms with two children, each facing their challenges. This trio's interplay reshapes their understanding of joy and the essence of a fulfilling life, challenging the audience to reevaluate their understanding of how the world functions and what it means to be happy.


Federico Luis, the visionary behind this tale, steers the narrative into the often-overlooked exploration of characters that don’t always get the spotlight. In an interview, Luis and Matías Fernández Burzaco delve into the reasoning of why the story probes deep into the portrayal of disability, steering clear of conventional cinematic sympathy cliches. Instead, SIMON OF THE MOUNTAIN presents its characters with layers of complexity, combining shadow and light to sculpt a more truthful human experience.

The film focuses on its characters' nuanced expressions and interactions, prioritizing emotional depth over the expansive world they live in. This directorial choice amplifies the film’s reflective tone, drawing the audience closer to its characters' struggles and triumphs. As Simon, Ferro delivers a performance rich with sensitivity and insight, interacting with non-professional actors who bring a raw, unfiltered authenticity to the screen. This unique vision, captured through intimate cinematography, invites viewers into a deeply personal space, making each moment of vulnerability resonate with universal truth.

Luis not only directs but also ignites critical conversations about the often stereotyped and misunderstood community of individuals with disabilities. The film champions a perspective that highlights unique abilities over perceived limitations. This redefinition is a breath of fresh air in cinematic storytelling, enriching the story with new layers of understanding and empathy. Every person I've met with a disability possesses unique abilities or core values that stand out. Whether it's exceptional intelligence or a kind and generous spirit, they always have something remarkable to offer.

SIMON OF THE MOUNTAIN arrives at a crucial juncture for Argentinian cinema. It acts as a compelling plea for the preservation and appreciation of diverse voices, standing out as a testament to the power of film to effect societal change and personal insight.

The film offers a profound journey into the complexities of love, identity, and the human condition. It challenges its viewers to look beyond the superficial to recognize and embrace the complexities and capabilities inherent in every individual. This film captivates and enlightens, lingering in the mind and heart long after the closing credits. This journey is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling, making it a significant and memorable viewing experience.

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[photo courtesy of PLANTA, MOTHER SUPERIOR, TWELVE THIRTY MEDIA, 1230 MEDIA, LUXBOX FILMS]

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