by Julie Perez

Director Dianla Peralta spread pieces of her heart throughout every single scene in De Lo Mio, which had its LA premier this past weekend at LALIFF 2019.


In De Lo Mio, two sisters travel to the Dominican Republic to reunite with their estranged brother. The reason for the get-together is to prepare the family home to be sold. If you’re expecting a layered experience, then Diana perfectly delivers. The film weighs heavy with vulnerability and it may just be because the story comes from Diana’s personal experience. De Lo Mio was shot in Diana’s grandmother’s house, within the span of 14 tumultuous days. She calls the film a labor of love and a family project; which very much comes through on the screen.

Every single shot feels carefully executed, to the point where some scenes feel like the audience is eavesdropping. Conversations are nuanced and heavy with family drama that is too old and too complicated to bring up. Sasha Merci and Darlene Demorizi played the sisters Rita and Carolina; their interaction with each other are what forced me to become emotionally invested in these characters. Their chemistry was palpable, which made sense once Diana expressed that the actresses had grown up together at the Q&A after the movie.

Hector Anibal played their estranged brother Dante and he worked through the layers of his character in a magical way. He allowed the audience in, just enough, while remaining emotionally guarded for most of the film. While the three siblings were the root of the film, the scenery from the Dominican Republic felt like the perfect supporting character. Diana allowed the quiet moments to breathe; she gave conversations the time needed for the dialogue to linger its way into your heart. The quiet moments is where De Lo Mio found its happy place.

The reality that every trip to your motherland slowly becomes synonymous with trips to the cemetery, feels like a topic the LATINX community continuously avoids. This reality was made a little easier to accept when presented with funny quips, a relatable relationship between siblings and love for a place that you haven’t visited in many years but still know like the back of your hand.

Though I’ll admit that I was hoping for the emotional climax to be bigger (maybe it’s my personal gravitation towards the dramatic); De Lo Mio gracefully held all of the complicated feelings of returning to the motherland. The film sprinkled seeds for future conversations throughout the film. Whether it was about the heartache that comes from a parent leaving you to go to the states or the guilt that lays heavy when you’re unable to visit a dying family member; De Lo Mio felt like the perfect emotional experience.

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