Ávila can't quite thread the needle between telling his personal story and connecting it to larger social currents.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
'Clandestine Childhood'' is the impressive first feature by Argentine director Benjamín Avila.
| Original Score: 3/4
When a filmmaker proves as reluctant as Mr. Ávila to speak up about the past, to engage with its full complexity, it can be hard to hear what he's saying.
The calmer scenes are staged in staid and somewhat clunky fashion, but the graphic animation depicting the worst moments is starkly effective.
| Original Score: 3/5
Outré flourishes don't fully lift the story past the limitations of innocence-lost storytelling.
A charming, involving first feature, Clandestine Childhood muscles its familiar coming-of-age material into something more vibrant and urgent than the usual.
The pic has strong moments, but is bogged down by a script that regurgitates standard-issue ideas without finding anything interesting to say.
As is often the case with directors who adapt their own life-histories, there's the sense that Avila is a little too close to his material.