An earthquake rumbled through the floors of El Vegetariano café in the eastern San José suburb of San Pedro during a late May press function. Hilda Hidalgo fled out the door of the restaurant. A panicky reporter followed her out. Nobody else in the café had time to react to the minor earthquake.
When the tremors stopped, the Costa Rican film director returned to El Vegetariano, laughing. “Valiant or brave,” Hidalgo said, “I am not.”
Not brave? Earthquakes notwithstanding, others might disagree. This year, Hidalgo made her feature-length moviemaking debut, with a script that was not made for the gutless.
For her first ever full-length film, Hidalgo adapted Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez’s novel “Del amor y otros demonios” (Of Love and Other Demons). It takes some courage to interpret the work of one of the world’s greatest living writers for the big screen. But Hidalgo’s movie opened to strong reviews in Colombia and Costa Rica in the spring. She earned a spot in last month’s Los Angeles Film Festival, and dazzled the critics again. All along, as the film gained momentum, Hidalgo carried the banner of Costa Rica’s fledgling film industry.
Fewer than a dozen Costa Ricans have directed a feature film. Yet four movies helmed by Costa Ricans have debuted in 2010, with more expected before the year’s end. These select few local filmmakers have had honors and critical acclaim accompany their releases since this generation emerged a little more than five years ago.
For more on this story, see the July 23 print or digital edition of The Tico Times.