The Best Movie Critic + TIME

SDFF34 - Postales

Justin here with a look at the movie Postales, playing at this year's Starz Denver Film Festival.

Here’s why I love film fests: movies like Postales. I would never have watched this movie if it wasn’t part of this year’s Starz Denver Film Fest. It’s just not the type of movie that I tend to gravitate towards. I’m really glad I saw this though.

Postales is the debut from Boulder based writer-director Josh Hyde. It tells the story of two brothers in Peru who’s lives become entangled with two sisters visiting from the United States. It’s a love story, a coming of age story, and a showcase for the beautiful city of Cozcu.

Pablo and Jano are brothers living on the gills above the city of Cozcu, the home base for tourists visiting Machu Picchu. The younger of the two, Pablo helps support the family by selling postcard to tourists. He’s regularly hassled by the police and is hardly ever able to get ahead. Meanwhile, Jano is a typical ne’er-do-well who seduces tourists and then steals from them in addition to other shady doings. Separately, they soon encounter Mary and Elizabeth, two sisters from a wealthy American family on vacation. Like the brothers, the younger Mary is an idealist while Elizabeth is more concerned with materialist things.

Postales is full of this kind of symmetry, but it never feels forced. The coincidences between the two families develop as we become more invested in their lives. It’s positively Dickensian.

The acting is strong all around, but especially from Peruvian actors, Guimel Soria Martinez and Alan Cuba as the brothers.

This is an incredibly strong debut from Josh Hyde. The movie is beautifully shot with as much care paid to the slums as to the touristy plaza area. Postales is tightly plotted and never drags. Hyde manages to capture the best parts of independent film while side-stepping the pretensions that could drag a movie like this down. This is great straight-ahead storytelling. Hyde is definitely a film maker to watch. Recommended.

Postales is playing at the Starz Denver Film Festival Saturday, November 5th at 3:45 pm and Tuesday, November 8th at 4:30 pm and 9:30 pm. You can buy tickets here.

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