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THE DAILY CALIFORNIAN, “What we’ve watched: Sundance 2023 returns to Park City with cinematic..."

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“La Pecera (The Fishbowl)”

Grade: 3.5/5.0

In Vieques, a shimmering small island off the eastern coast of San Juan, toxic traces of the U.S. military presence still poison the water and the bodies of the people who live near it. “La Pecera (The Fishbowl),” Glorimar Marrero Sánchez’s feature debut, is an achingly beautiful tale of cancer and colonialism in Puerto Rico.

The film stars Isel Rodríguez as Noelia, a stubborn and staunchly independent woman whose colorectal cancer has returned and metastasized after years of remission. Tired of treatment and suffocated by her boyfriend Jorge (Maximiliano Rivas), she returns to her childhood home of Vieques to put all her remaining energy toward protecting the community that raised her — despite the looming threat of a hurricane and her own deteriorating condition.

However, Sánchez prioritizes stunning visual metaphors at the expense of character development, and Noelia’s actions often appear selfish and reckless rather than strong and purposeful. “La Pecera (The Fishbowl)” proves that cancer movies don’t have to be sickly sweet or inspirational to tell a powerful story, as Noelia makes peace with mourning.

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