(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“I am feeling the burning comet feeling again and I want to run out of the house and keep running for hours. Or stomp the glass coffee table and shatter it and shoot beams of blood out of my fingers. I want to run off the cliffs and just keep running in the air, over the ocean, and never drop.”
You wouldn’t expect this from young Nochita, who meditated regularly and was raised by a popular new-age guru, Kaia. Actually Kaia was her mother, but Nochita only referred to her by her first name. She in turn considered Nochita to be a “daughter of the universe.” In spite of these impulsive urges, they stayed very close and connected.
On the other hand, Nochita was estranged from her alcoholic father, Jorge Ramirez. That was, until Kaia died. Nochita was forced to live with him and his fiance, both seeking their own dreams- while acting as wannabe cowboys and “vitamin pushers”.
Instead of her role as a daughter of the universe, she thinks now that maybe she will become a cowboy too. But in addition to the lack of control over her own life , she feels invisible and alien. You know what’s next: she leaves and keeps going.
What you don’t know is that Nochita is not the typical “alienated teenager forced to live with a parent she barely knows and then runs away” story. That’s not to make light of this real-life situation that often winds up tragic and painful. What I am trying to say is that if there was nothing to distinguish this story from those with similar premises, the review wouldn’t appear on UnderratedReads!
Nochita is lyrical but at the same time graphic and raw. It is written from Nochita’s perspective and how she interprets her ever-changing world. This all takes place while she tries to figure out her own identity, aspirations and sexuality. From San Diego to San Francisco, she meets others on the fringe of society–among them a peep show girl, “poetry doctor”, dealers, ex-cons and sexually ambivalent individuals. Unfortunately she continues to be an outsider among outsiders.
She doesn’t see it as a bad thing, though. While living with her father, her only friend was a pig. Now, “To meet people is to devour them, to have completed a mission, to move through them. Rather than friends, I feel like I have a collection. A collection I cherish.”
So she keeps moving on. “Time twitches and replays like a psychedelic record-the only real way to do something new is to leave., geographically leave. Right? Then you can really flip the record.”
Nochita draws us in with dark humor, cynicism and contradictions. I can definitively see this as a captivating film with its fascinating characters and introspective plot. Any takers?