But the viewer - as observer to the unfolding drama - both understands his rebuke and feels an increased frustration with the lad's sullen and disrespectful behaviour. (Despite Maria not quite getting the fact he's been abandoned by both his mum and dad and might find this a bit upsetting.) Lolli and his co-writers, Catherine Paillé and Virginie Legeay, never depict the wealthy characters as emotionally cold or as sneering, one-dimensional folk. It's more their passive-aggressive everyday snobbery and fear of social mixing that is noted. Maria's soft heart and attempts to help Eric and Gabriel are met with increased resistance because they feel embarrassed. Yet there are equally harmonious scenes underlining the fact that people from different social backgrounds are perfectly capable of getting on. Aided by a vivid depiction of downtown Bogotá - the sound design is particularly excellent - Gente de Bien is a sensitive and rewarding viewing experience about the social barriers we erect and the economic hardships and necessities impacting on working families in Latin America.
Martyn Conterio | @Cinemartyn