Sundance 2024 Film Review: In the Summers

In the Summers, winner of the Sundance 2024 U.S. Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize, tells the story of siblings Eva and Violeta as they visit their father at his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the summers as they grow up. 

Their back-and-forth trips seem to reflect their back-and-forth relationship with him, growing close and then distant, while developing his best, and worst, traits.

During a Q&A session, director Alessandra Lacorazza Samudio said she made the film after her father’s death and she and her sister began reminiscing about visiting him during summers. Las Cruces reminded her of places her father lived, where the two children to stand out amid barren terrain—a lot like dessert blossoms.

Rapper and singer Residente stars as the father, Vincente, in his first feature role. It seems there’s hope for a strong relationship with both of his daughters at first. He wraps gifts, cleans up the home he inherited from their grandmother and arrives on time to pick them up. However, continuing the oscillating theme, Vincente’s rougher side slowly creeps in, and later retreats. While one child continually tries to impress him, the other drifts away as he fails to recognize who they become. Vincente’s choice in beverage, and how much he drinks, often signals the side of him you’ll get.

In the Summers features Lio Mehiel and Sasha Calle (The Flash) as the young adult versions of Violeta and Eva. We were excited for Mehiel’s return to Sundance after seeing them in last year’s Mutt. Mehiel, Calle and four younger actresses playing the characters at different stages show the audience how sibling bonds can be resistant, and often strengthened, through the difficult times.

The film is celebrated for showing aspects of Latino culture often unseen on film. And, as a desert lover, the Las Cruces scenery is also a treat.

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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