Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Miami Through the Eyes of Its Beholders

Alexandra Vivas Lets Her Lens Find Fusión

By John Hood

The immigrant story may not be a new one, but it is new to each immigrant who comes to live it, which is one of the main reasons why such stories endure  — and why they will continue to endure for as long as people pack up their lives and and head for unfamiliar shores. Here in Miami, of course, a new story is born every single day. And you can bet that not one of the lives who are living the experience find it anything but brand new.

That newness is vividly evident in Alexandra Visa’s Fusión, the short, sweet and shimmering look at some of the lives that make Miami infamous. The initial offering from Fordista FilmsFusión is a first-rate take on an age-old subject, especially for a debut director. Then again, considering Vivas was born in Colombia, raised in Venezuela and has spent the better part of the last decade right here in the MIA, it’s no surprise her lens gets it — from every angle.

And oh what angles she gets. Scoped in tropical spirit and steeped in a tradition which is remade daily, Fusión finds the heart and the soul of the immigrant, and it proves it comes in every color imaginable. Call it a kaleidoscopic look at a polyglot metropolis. A labor of love by, for and of those who love this town of ours. The story of some very varied lives.

What may be surprising to some is that though Miami is made up of mostly Latin immigrants (as is Fusión), there’s nothing homogenous about any of the experiences. The Cuban’s is as different from a Nicaraguan’s, as the Peruvian’s is from the Colombian’s. In Fusión even Spanish itself shows an inherent diversity, though many terms and phrases do come to belong uniquely to Miami.

Fittingly Vivas begins her excursion with an infectious beat, and she ends things with the kinda credit due the handful of figures who tell their respective tales. In between she shows the importance of religion and family and food; sun, beauty and the beach. More importantly perhaps she shows that though “flavor” and “swagger” may be what’s most boasted about; it’s heart and soul which defines them all.

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