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GPFF Review: La Guayaba

Global Peace Film Fest is an annual event held in Orlando. This year members of the RCC 100: Writing About Social Justice and Community class attended and wrote reviews on a selection of the films. Read all reviews here.

Maximilaiano Gonzalez’s La Guayaba is, to say the least, raw. Florencia, the main character, is depicted as an innocent teenage girl happily living her life despite living in evident poverty. All is well, until the day a woman shows up and offers her a promising housekeeping job in another city. It isn’t until she arrives at the underground brothel to be raped by her “boss” when she realizes the reality of her situation. She later comes to learn that her chance of survival is very slim, and she must find a way out.

It’s clear that Gonzalez wanted to capture a specific message throughout the film due to the seemingly never-ending focus shots on Florencia’s feet. The way he places emphasis on her feet in different shoes to depict her sudden and involuntary transformation from a child to an adult would be a good feature—if it didn’t take up so much time. I found myself constantly waiting for the film to pick up the pace, although it never did. There were many overly graphic scenes that I found very disturbing. However, by the end of the film, I came to realize that there is no other way to fully capture the heartbreaking reality of sex trafficking without those scenes. Through many scenes of constant physical pain and emotional suffering, the director creates an unbelievably real account of a 17-year-old girl’s story as a sex slave.

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