Sand Dollars (DIR. Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán)
By: Shannon Page
Like the Dominican Republic of its setting, Sand Dollars is both ugly and beautiful; it is complex and often overwhelming in its starkness, yet showcases a landscape that most would equate with paradise.
Written and directed by Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán, Sand Dollars stars Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of the legendary Charlie Chaplin) as an aging European woman who falls in love with a much younger Dominican woman (Yanet Mojica). In exploring this unusual relationship, the film also examines larger issues of power, class, and privilege. Sand Dollars never shies away from boldly presenting the complexities of these forces, and the result is both thought provoking and occasionally uncomfortable.
Though thematically nuanced and visually stunning, Chaplin’s performance as Anne is what makes Sand Dollars unforgettable. The sparse dialogue and bare, stripped down cinematography contribute to the overall tone of the film and much of its impact rests on the actor’s interactions with one another and the landscape. Even with limited dialogue, Chaplin gives us a character that is fully and perfectly realized. She is endearing and painfully alive.
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Shannon Page: @ShannonEvePage