See an interview with director Hernán Jimenéz here.
Sold out theaters marked the first week in cinemas of “El Regreso” (The Return), the award-winning film by Costa Rican Hernán Jimenéz. In the first weekend alone, 12,000 people saw the movie about a man (played by Jimenéz) returning home to Costa Rica after a decade living in the United States.The film won Best International Feature at the New York International Latino Film Festival last month.
The director spoke to The Tico Times on the surreal experience of his debut. Excerpts follow. Showtimes are after the interview.
The Tico Times: How was the experience of winning this award in New York?
Herman Jimenéz: We were honored to screen our film in New York City. I never imagined we could win anything, and that was wonderful. But the most significant moment in that whole experience was showing it publicly for the first time. It was like seeing my own baby take a first step. A large theatre in midtown filled with Costa Rican expats, it was probably the most visceral audience the movie has had so far.
After a week of premieres there are always details that you probably want to change, are you satisfied with The result?
I like the film very much and it’s the first time I can sit through my own work and not cringe every two minutes. Of course there are glitches and problems, and they become more evident as time goes by and I have more and more distance. This is a humbling experience, because there’s always a moment – even if it’s just for a second as you step back and see what you’ve done – when you think you might be a genius. And then time and audiences and objectivity kick inand remind me that this is just the beginning, that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing and that the movie is beautifully faulty. “
Do you think that Costa Ricans or foreigners who live here will somehow identify with the movie?
I think anyone who’s ever had a relationship of any kind with this country will find some of their experience in the film. I don’t pretend to have grasped the full spectrum of what this place is about, but it’s an approximation to what it’s like to set foot in a city that is both utterly chaotic and painfully beautiful at the same time. It relates to what it’s like to be Costa Rican, but it certainly sees this country from a foreigner’s perspective.
Tico Times readers and I probably share the experience of stepping off an air conditioned jet into this country often enough. That particular walk through the jetway is an experience that I will never find the right words to describe. This film is about as close as I can get. Come check it out and see what I mean.“
El Regreso showtimes
Alajuela 2:30 p.m. 4:45 7:00 9:15
Cariari 1:00 p.m. 3:00 5:00 7:00 9:00
Desamparados 3:15 p.m. 5:30 7:30 9:45
Heredía 1:15 p.m. 3:15 5:15 7:15 9:20
Mult. de Este 4:20 p.m. 6:25 8:40
Mult. de Escazú 12:05 p.m. 2:20 4:40 7:00
Grecia 2:45 p.m. 4:45 6:45 8:45