Sundance 2020: Summer White

Summer White (Blanco de Verano), offers a grounded look at the toll a mother’s new relationship has on her brooding teen son, who was once her closest confidante.

However, instead of lashing out against the boyfriend, Fernando, or his mother, Valeria, for that matter, 13-year-old Rodrigo internalizes his feelings of replacement and lets them out through destructive behaviors — smoking, skipping school, running away, and, most notably, playing with fire, a lot. An example of still waters running deep, Rodrigo remains silent through many interactions with Fernando, who does his best to play a father-type figure while unknowingly stoking the flame burning inside the young man. 

Directed by Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson, Summer White centers totally around Fernando, Rodrigo and Valeria’s interactions in and out of their home near Mexico City, while silently examining Rodrigo’s selfishness, jealousy, loneliness and rejection. Perhaps it’s Valeria’s unusual closeness with her son that set him up for this chapter in his life, or maybe it’s his inability to deal with the swiftness with which Fernando entered the scene. Whatever the case, the film’s touch points on child development should be discussed.

Summer White makes an inquisitive addition to this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Patterson describes it as “a story about love in different stages, at the bottom of the iceberg of a modern family. The film is told from the boy’s point of view, his visual, aural, emotional and psychological perception, a boy that is discovering a cumulus of complex emotions for the first time.”

Presented in Spanish with English subtitles, 85 minutes

Upcoming screenings:

Monday, Jan. 27, 10 p.m., Redstone Cinema, Park City

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinema 6, SLC

Thursday, Jan. 30, 3 p.m., Sundance Mountain Resort 

Friday, Jan. 31, 6 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City

Saturday, Feb. 1, 4 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema, Park City

Read more of our Sundance coverage.

Jaime Winston
Jaime Winston
Jaime is a contributing writer for Salt Lake magazine. Formerly, he served as our editorial intern, then as our assistant web editor, and, finally, as our web editor. While he covers many different topics, he is especially interested in nerdy entertainment, from FanX's artist alley to Sundance's Midnight screenings.

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