TIFF 2021: Beba Review

A real standout in this year’s TIFF Docs section, Rebeca Huntt’s Beba is a film that defies categorization. It is deeply personal, a memoir of sorts—but it is certainly not another navel gazing experience. Beba goes beyond the usual tropes associated with that style to express more about history and society than any conventional documentary could hope to do.

In Beba, the filmmaker investigates the generational trauma at the root of her family’s fractured relationships. To do so, she probes her parents’ unique personal histories to understand her own reality as a bi-racial woman from a working-class family. Her intent to confront the “curses of our ancestors”, implicates us as well and signals a refreshing approach. Her quest takes on universal implications.

At times chaotic, Huntt’s raw yet poetic aesthetic demands attention as much as she does. Using direct address, she expertly interweaves interview footage with stills. It’s shaky and rough but emphasizes the sheer emotionality of her process.

In Beba Huntt uses the act of filmmaking to forge a path through anger and hurt towards reconciliation and greater understanding. Far from sentimental, Beba is an act of defiance—a rallying cry for those that have lived through trauma and emerged with clarity. This film is an act of love, of self-love, which hopes to inspire others. That’s a far cry from self-indulgence.


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