4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Indentured motherhood

Tomato soup served cold.

Osvaldo (Eduardo España) gives his mother (Ana Ofelia Murguía) a reason to live in the black comedy 
Fecha de Caducidad.
Osvaldo (Eduardo España) gives his mother (Ana Ofelia Murguía) a reason to live in the black comedy Fecha de Caducidad.

Films about missing children are as common today as unmotivated camera movements. Shake a cable box and at any given time you’re bound to find a couple.

Few are about adult children and even fewer play for laughs. Only one has a Campbell’s tomato soup pumping through its veins. If you’re smart, skip this week’s mainstream gunk and catch Fecha de Caducidad when it opens Friday at the Media Arts Center San Diego’s Digital Gym.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Movie

Expiration Date <em>(Fecha de caducidad)</em>

thumbnail

Find showtimes

Fecha is being pitched as a thriller. In one sense, the pigeon-holers are right. After a summer defined by preachy teen comedies and further confirmation that former SNL players work best in eight-minute spurts, nothing is more thrilling than a delicious black comedy that’s geared for adults.

You can’t judge Osvaldo’s (Eduardo España) corpse by its shoes. While being given a TV-side pedicure on the evening of his disappearance, his mother, Ramona (the outstanding Ana Ofelia Murguía), accidentally slips, leaving her 40-something, live-at-home baby with a crimson big toe.

When Ramona visits the morgue to ID the body, director and co-author Kenya Marquez cleverly devises a way to keep Osvaldo’s bloody digit concealed. Fecha is neither whodunit nor howdunit; in this case, hipping the audience to Osvaldo’s death while a doting and clueless mom scours the streets of Guadalajara to find him twinkles with its own subtextual humor.

A sympathetic morgue worker paves the way for a comedy of miscommunication with her suggestion that Ramona’s sloth-like offspring may actually be shacking up with a woman. Ramona solicits the help of a greasy goon (Damián Alcázar) with a picket-fence grin and hand-printed business cards, and a neighbor across the hall (Marisol Centeno) that she swears could have been her future daughter-in-law.

Fecha screened as part of last year’s Latino Film Festival. The San Diego Film Critics Society named it one of their top picks and it was my pleasure to be joined by two colleagues to help introduce the screening. Watching it again for a third time, I’m still dazzled by the film’s metaphoric (and gradual) use of Campbell’s tomato soup as a running motif. Like a vampire slowly sucking the life out of its victims, compulsive Ramona bleeds supermarket shelves dry of her son’s favorite condensed delicacy hoping beyond hope that he’ll come home and that she may once again return to a life of indentured motherhood.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Brenda Spencer used a .22

If Encinitas won't protect trees, who will?
Osvaldo (Eduardo España) gives his mother (Ana Ofelia Murguía) a reason to live in the black comedy 
Fecha de Caducidad.
Osvaldo (Eduardo España) gives his mother (Ana Ofelia Murguía) a reason to live in the black comedy Fecha de Caducidad.

Films about missing children are as common today as unmotivated camera movements. Shake a cable box and at any given time you’re bound to find a couple.

Few are about adult children and even fewer play for laughs. Only one has a Campbell’s tomato soup pumping through its veins. If you’re smart, skip this week’s mainstream gunk and catch Fecha de Caducidad when it opens Friday at the Media Arts Center San Diego’s Digital Gym.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Movie

Expiration Date <em>(Fecha de caducidad)</em>

thumbnail

Find showtimes

Fecha is being pitched as a thriller. In one sense, the pigeon-holers are right. After a summer defined by preachy teen comedies and further confirmation that former SNL players work best in eight-minute spurts, nothing is more thrilling than a delicious black comedy that’s geared for adults.

You can’t judge Osvaldo’s (Eduardo España) corpse by its shoes. While being given a TV-side pedicure on the evening of his disappearance, his mother, Ramona (the outstanding Ana Ofelia Murguía), accidentally slips, leaving her 40-something, live-at-home baby with a crimson big toe.

When Ramona visits the morgue to ID the body, director and co-author Kenya Marquez cleverly devises a way to keep Osvaldo’s bloody digit concealed. Fecha is neither whodunit nor howdunit; in this case, hipping the audience to Osvaldo’s death while a doting and clueless mom scours the streets of Guadalajara to find him twinkles with its own subtextual humor.

A sympathetic morgue worker paves the way for a comedy of miscommunication with her suggestion that Ramona’s sloth-like offspring may actually be shacking up with a woman. Ramona solicits the help of a greasy goon (Damián Alcázar) with a picket-fence grin and hand-printed business cards, and a neighbor across the hall (Marisol Centeno) that she swears could have been her future daughter-in-law.

Fecha screened as part of last year’s Latino Film Festival. The San Diego Film Critics Society named it one of their top picks and it was my pleasure to be joined by two colleagues to help introduce the screening. Watching it again for a third time, I’m still dazzled by the film’s metaphoric (and gradual) use of Campbell’s tomato soup as a running motif. Like a vampire slowly sucking the life out of its victims, compulsive Ramona bleeds supermarket shelves dry of her son’s favorite condensed delicacy hoping beyond hope that he’ll come home and that she may once again return to a life of indentured motherhood.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: Visiting the Acid Vault at Amplified Ale Works

A kind of Enchanted Forest meets Kid Charlemagne feel
Next Article

Bluefin still holding out as season turns

Yellowtail missing at Coronados
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close