Facets Cinémathèque

Archives +

December 5–11, 2014

Chicago Theatrical

Bad Hair
(Pelo Malo)

Film still: Bad Hair


Film still: Bad Hair


Film still: Bad Hair
Best Film
San Sebastian
Film Fest
Special Jury Prize: Best Film
Havana Film Fest
Critics' Pick "An uncomfortably accurate depiction of a poignant mother-son power struggle in a fatherless family... [A] hard little gem of a film"
  —New York Times
"[An] impressively multilayered drama"
"An affecting look at youthful yearning"
  —Village Voice
"A spare neorealist drama that holds attention and emotional involvement with its deft balance of toughness and sensitivity"
  —Hollywood Reporter
3 stars½ "[An] artful, wrenching fable"
  —Boston Globe
3 stars½ "[Director Mariana] Rondón treats her characters with toughness and empathy, without devising easy outs or slipping into sentimentality"
  —The Dissolve
3 stars "A stunningly observed relationship between mother and son...Bad Hair is extremely provocative in its quiet way, and pulls none of its punches"
Recommended "This is an accomplished piece of social realist filmmaking, clear-eyed but tender"
  —Chicago Reader

Junior is a precocious 9-year-old boy living in the housing projects of Caracas who wants nothing more than to straighten his head of tight curls for his yearbook photo. A desire that borders on obsession, it stirs homophobic panic in his mother, Marta (Samantha Castillo), who is overtaxed from losing her husband, raising two children, and attempting to find a job. As she sharply recoils at Junior's self-expression and abrasively acts to correct his behavior, Junior manages to find acceptance (and straight hair) in the company of his loving grandmother, teaching Junior to dance to one of her favorite '60s rock 'n' roll tunes.

From Venezuelan writer-director Mariana Rondón and featuring newcomer Samuel Lange in a beautifully standout performance, Bad Hair is a painfully tender coming-of-age drama about a boy caught in a maelstrom of identity and intolerance. Bad Hair showcases the cultural realities of working-class Venezuela, finding warmth and humor between mother and son, even as the uncertainties of pre-adolescence threaten to pull them apart.

Directed by Mariana Rondón, 2013, Venezuela/Peru/Argentina/Germany, 93 mins. In Spanish with English subtitles.


  • Fri., Dec. 5 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat.–Sun., Dec. 6–7 at 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Mon.–Wed., Dec. 8–10 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Wed., Dec. 11 at 9 pm
Order tickets


$9 general admission

FREE for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation