DIRECTED BY Maite Alberdi
The winner of the inaugural $5,000 Miami Film Festival Zeno Mountain Award in March 2017 was The Grown-Ups (Los niños). The subjects of Maite Alberdi’s documentary are four middle-aged students at a Chilean school for Down’s Syndrome children. The quartet studies and works in their catering department, but to what end? This winsome, opinionated group feels ready for a life of greater autonomy, yet financial independence is elusive in a system that marginalizes them as disabled. Those who caught Alberdi’s previous film Tea Time (La once) at the 2015 Festival know hercapacity for generating tremendous charisma, but the infectious warmth of The Grown-Ups is balanced with indignation over its subjects’ dearth of options. The Grown-Ups doesn’t dismiss the innate challenges faced by those with Down’s Syndrome; rather, it merely urges us to consider their desires and abilities on a case-by-case basis.