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Group of men and women, of mixed ages, appear to scream and yell in jubilation before a 2024 Sundance Film Festival backdrop.

The Beauty of “Reinas” and the Sadness of Goodbye

The cast of “Reinas” celebrates the premiere of the film January 22 at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. (Photo by Marc Sagliocco/Shutterstock for Sundance Film Festival)

By Vanessa Zimmer

Carlos (Gonzalo Molina) would do almost anything for his “queens.” Except maybe tell them goodbye forever. 

Now that he’s reentered their lives after a long absence, he wants to spend lots of time with his teen daughters, Aurora (Luana Vega) and Lucia (Abril Gjurinovic), those aforementioned “queens.” 

It is 1992 in Lima, Peru, and the economy is faltering, food costs are shooting upward, blackouts occur frequently, a nightly curfew is enforced, and gunshots are heard in the streets. That’s why Elena (Jimena Lindo) has decided to accept a job in Minnesota and take her daughters with her. Carlos must sign papers that allow his and Elena’s children to leave the country.

The family’s emotional story unfolds in Reinas, which premiered January 22 in the World Cinema Drama Competition at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. 

The family does not know where Carlos lives or how he makes a living. They know only that he drives a battered car and carries a bag of sugar in the trunk — and tells fantastical stories like the ones about his run-in with a crocodile and his surfing accident.

Director and co-writer Klaudia Reynicke, in her Meet the Artist video, describes the film as a “tender and dramatic story full of magic.” She is not wrong.

The Sundance audience reacted warmly to the film, hooting and rising to their feet when Reynicke and the cast took the stage after the premiere. Reynicke gestured to the cast members as they joined her and took turns exchanging long, swaying hugs. “They are the film,” she says. “Please.” 

The story itself arises from Reynicke’s life. She left Peru with her family when she was 10 years old. “As I’ve grown up, I’ve become a mother myself and an adult. Somehow, I really needed to reconnect with my country,” she says. The script she wound up co-writing with Diego Vega was not exactly the same story as her own. “But the feelings are really, really close to what I lived back then.”

Incidentally, “Reinas” translates to “Queens.”

To see more of the magic from the 2024 Festival, click here.