THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WKND
Director: Jon Mikel Caballero
Starring: Iria del Río, Adam Quintero, Nadia de Santiago, Adrián Expósito, Jimmy Castro
Producer: Jon Mikel Caballero
Screenwriter: Jon Mikel Caballero
Cinematographer: Tânia da Fonseca
Editor: Miguel A. Trudu
Composer: Luis Hernaiz
Executive Producer: Pedro de la Escalera, Belén Estevas-Guilmain
“Alba, are you asleep?”
Six thirty-somethings head to a cabin for the weekend. There’s no running water, but they have plenty of beer and food, so everything’s fine. That is until Alba (Iria del Río) is unexpectedly broken up with by her partner Pablo (Adam Quintero). I say unexpectedly because it happens so early in the film that it’s unclear why their relationship of many years isn’t working anymore. As the film progresses, friends share news of new jobs, upcoming moves, and general big life changes. Meanwhile, Alba still lives with her parents and has no idea what she wants to do with her life. So the breakup appears to be the result of Alba’s lack of direction. Alba wants things to stay exactly the way they are … but be careful what you wish for.
The Incredible Shrinking Wknd, as the title indicates, has time loops and repeated days, but the focus is not on figuring out what is causing the repetition (as a lot of movies in this Groundhog Day genre are concerned with) but about Alba’s larger inability to accept change and move forward. So the film works nicely on both a literal and a figurative level. Accordingly, although this is very much a sci-fi film in terms of subject material, it is not about the why but about the effect that it has on Alba’s growth as a character. Each time Alba’s day restarts, she goes about it differently, hoping that Pablo won’t break up with her (one time she even breaks up with him first). However, time and time again, the end result is the same — no matter how the day plays out. In this way, the film quietly assures us that it’s never just one thing we did but a multitude of things outside of our control that lead to unfortunate circumstances (or just different paths, like there’s nothing wrong with living at home still FYI).
Normally, I gravitate towards character-driven stories, but it’s difficult for me to decide exactly what is driving this film — and that is in no way a bad thing because I did thoroughly enjoy it. It’s slow and meditative and unconcerned with giving us fleshed-out back stories for the main characters. It rides more on big picture ideas and universal emotions and stages of life. The characters seem to be there just to embody them. And it works really, really well.
Iria del Río (Alba) and Adam Quintero (Pablo) do a fantastic job of portraying the doomed couple. And while Alba and Pablo take center stage here, the other characters in the film do a nice job of playing minor yet necessary roles as they show both their love and disdain for Alba. And, by the end of the film, I was less concerned with what happened to these characters and more focused on my emotional response to the film. It’s also worth mentioning how gorgeous The Incredible Shrinking Wknd is. I don’t know where their cabin is exactly, but the setting is a lush, green wonderland, and the moments where time freezes are breathtaking.
The second annual North Bend Film Festival, located in North Bend, Washington, runs from August 15-18, 2019. The US premiere of The Incredible Shrinking Wknd was shown August 15, 2019, from 7:00pm-9:00pm. More information about the festival can be found on their website.