Quick Thoughts: Nueba Yol (Big Apple, 1995)
Made by Ángel Muñiz, this is the Dominican Republic film of the series.
My incredibly rudimentary understanding of Spanish was taken to its edge with this film as I had to watch it without subtitles. So, suffice to say that my years of high school Spanish helped… but not too much. I could follow Nueba Yol’s (slang for Big Apple) narrative with ease and picked up the major beats, but the details of scenes often went over my head. I was nonetheless immersed into this film for the most part (the final act is a little slow and clunky) thanks to its visual story telling, performances and a somewhat predictable story. And I say predictable in a way that is not fully critical. Whilst this is the common fish-out-of-water, simple foreigner or outsider in a big city, story, it is considerably different from the likes of Crocodile Dundee, Coming To America, Home Alone 2, The Gods Must Be Crazy or Jungle To Jungle. Nueba Yol captures the sense of loss, alienation and confusion that is common in all of these films, but combines this with comedy without cheapening the emotional weight of the picture. In such, this is not like Crocodile Dundee, which, though it is good fun, finds no real conflict in the fish-out-of-water elements of the narrative. Nueba Yol is a film about optimism and hope in face of disaster and continual misfortune. So, though this isn’t gritty and realist, Nueba Yol finds a nice balance between comedy, romance, character and drama.
Whilst this isn’t a masterpiece, more so a competent and memorable piece of entertainment, it is understandable that Nueba Yol would be one of the most popular films from Dominican Republic ever made. If your Spanish is better than mine or you find a copy with subtitles, I’d recommend giving this one a watch.
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