Luis Gerardo Mendez appears in Time Share (Tiempo Compartido) by Sebastián Hofmann, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Matias Penachino.
Time Share (Tiempo Compartido), a Sundance selection for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, is a horror story come to life.
It should be said with full warning that this is a film that plays best on the big screen. Watching on a television or computer not only takes away from the cinematic experience but it makes it harder to read the subtitles. Thankfully, no subtitles are needed for R.J. Mitte’s character, Vistamar Resort manager Tom, as the Breaking Bad alumnus speaks fluent English.
Sebastián Hofmann directs from a screenplay co-written with Julio Chavezmontes. They play a lot with the horror of a timeshare without making the film feel as if it’s a horror film. The film features an interesting premise as two men, Pedro and Andres, believe that an American conglomerate, Everfields International Family, is going to take away their family through some sort of menacing plan. It isn’t just that the two of them believe that the company is going to take them away but they are willing to do whatever it takes, including joining each other in the fight if necessary.
From watching the action transpire on screen, there’s no doubt that there are stakes at play. The film translates better with those viewers who know a fair amount of Spanish or are watching on a screen large enough to both pay attention to what’s going on and read the subtitles at the same time. This isn’t to take anything away from the film because it’s well-acted and the premise is fun. It’s a film that can certainly be enjoyed again if the environment is right.
All the action takes place at the Vistamar Resort. Pedro (Luis Gerardo Mendez), his wife, Eva (Cassandra Ciangherotti), and their son manage to have the bad luck of being booked in a room that the hotel had already given to another family, headed up by Abel (Andrés Almeida). Filmmakers missed an opportunity to name Pedro “Cain” instead. In an attempt to compensate them for the unfortunate error, only one of the two families decide to accept the hotel’s package.
As fate would have it, the two families are able to become friends with each other but Pedro starts to grow paranoid and isolates him, believing that Abel is not just any guest. The paranoia only grows worse when Pedro has a chance meeting with former entertainer Andres (Miguel Rodarte). It’s here –and only here– that Pedro starts to believe that the hotel has it out for him and that they’ll take his family away. Andres has his own issue with management — they want his wife Gloria (Monserrat Marañon) to be on their sales team and he’s stuck doing laundry. Together, Pedro and Andres take on the man.
As the hotel manager, Mitte has the opportunity to work with some material considerably different from the former AMC series. At the same time, it feels as if his only purpose in the film is to drive the interest of potential American viewers.
With you never knowing exactly what will happen next, Time Share is going to keep audiences on the edge of their seat.
An official selection of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Time Share (Tiempo Compartido) is competing in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.