Las Malas Intenciones (2011) (Bad Intentions) review

LAS MALAS INTENCIONES is part of the 2012 Sarasota Film Festival’s feature films selection.

LAS MALAS INTENCIONES (Bad Intentions)          
It is a time of massive political violence in Peru and 8-year-old Cayetana de los Heros (Fatima Buntinx) lives on the outskirts of Lima in her mother and wealthy new stepfather’s enormous upper class home. Although she enjoys a sheltered and privileged existence, the distant bloody conflict pervades her daily life. Bomb threats at her Catholic school are a common occurrence and the walls of her village display graffiti calling for “armed struggle” against the Peruvian state. Dead animals adorned with terrorist threats are strung from the telephone poles, and it is not unusual to hear explosions nearby in the night.

Too often left alone or in the charge of a harried household staff, Cayetana develops into quite the little troublemaker with a morbid obsession with death. At school she is lectured in rigid moralistic Catholic teachings that she calmly absorbs without question, including the pronouncement that her divorced and remarried mother is undoubtedly bound for hell. Angry at her mother’s lengthy absence, Cayetana practices solemnly in front of the mirror how best to inform her parent of this eventual damnation.

She goes on to doctor the family pets to death without remorse, and steals a hidden nest egg from her parents, causing a maid to be wrongfully discharged for the crime. The self-absorbed father whom she loves and from whom she desperately craves attention woefully neglects her, making only infrequent visits to see her, most usually with one of his girlfriends in tow. This alienation causes her to feels abandoned and practically invisible, and to mollify her need for a worthwhile father-figure she escapes into daydreams about the brave martyred heroes of South America’s past whom she wishes she could someday emulate.

When her anxiety-ridden mother (Katerina D’Onofrio) returns from a long trip abroad and announces that she is pregnant, Cayetana’s little world is turned inside out. She surmises that the new baby’s arrival means losing what little is left of her own place inside the family circle (“Two suns can’t shine together”), and determines that she will die on the day her mother gives birth to her baby brother. It is not until the prospect of the real death of someone she loves arises that Cayetana is shaken from her fantasy world and considers that life may have more appeal than death.


A very imaginative and decidedly black comedy, LAS MALAS INTENCIONES (BAD INTENTIONS) is the first feature film by writer and director Rosario Garcia-Montero. “I make films about lonely people who fight to relate to others but fail,” says Garcia-Montero of her work. “They are arrogant, but we spot them at their most vulnerable moment, generating feelings ranging from indifference to empathy.” Born in Chicago, Garcia-Montero studied film at several international colleges including Lima University, New School University in New York and the Cuban film school Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV), where she developed the screenplay for LAS MALAS INTENCIONES.

You can see the trailer for LAS MALAS INTENCIONES HERE.


3 Responses to Las Malas Intenciones (2011) (Bad Intentions) review

  1. Hm, …hadn’t heard of this one. It will now go on my wish list.

  2. This film is now available on Netflix. See it!

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