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‘We Are The Heat’— A Deep Dive into the Lives of Afro-Colombian Dancers
By Lapacazo Sandoval, Contributing Writer
Published May 3, 2019

Dance battle, WE ARE THE HEAT, (Courtesy of Epic Pictures)

Director Jorge Navas’s new thriller, “We Are The Heat” (Somos Calentura), filmed in modern Colombia takes an audience into a world of violence and dance.  The compelling story is told through the eyes of a young dancer, and father named Harvey (Duván Arizala) who dreams of another life but can’t seem to leave the crippling poverty and gang life of Buenaventura.  His life options are thin, he stands in the middle of decisions that impact the lives of his family if he choices wrong. His choices are to rejoin his dance crew and compete for a small sum of prize money or take a dangerous job opportunity presented by a gang leader.

Harvey has a challenging life, as a loving father to a little girl, he’s doing his very best for his young family, even at the expense of his friends. He lives in a tricky world and one wrong move could destroy everything that he truly holds close to his heart.  His lady Luz Mar (Ana Lorena Rentería), believes in him but the other members of Harvey’s team are caught up in the street life, running from one dangerous crime scheme to another.  Add the tension of corrupt Police and rival gangs, Harvey’s vista isn’t very big.

The excitement that comes from “We Are The Heat” comes from the dancing and the all-or-nothing competition environment that colors the story.

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Director Navas made a bold move in casting real-life street dancers From Colombia, and featuring an ensemble of more than 2,000 extras – nearly all Afro-Colombians and it pays off.

Although the acting might feel “raw” (and it is, raw) that’s what marks this film as “one to watch” and one to watch, carefully.

Another element that makes “We Are The Heat” unique is how the director captured the beauty of the country outside of  Bogotá and Medellín.  In choosing Buenaventura, one of the country’s poorest cities, and a hub of violence and drug trafficking, he’s made the very place a “character” in the explosive drama. Buenaventura is a coastal place where people live in wooden homes propped up on precarious wooden planks and to that end, there is always a level of tension stirring in the air.

Duvan Arizala, WE ARE THE HEAT, (Courtesy of Epic Pictures)

Navas has a sentimental heart beating wildly at the center of “We Are The Heat” and you find yourself caring about the struggling dancers and feel empathy for their plight. In what appears as a simple device, a city-wide dance championship is really something much bigger for these young people, for most it’s a chance to regain their past glory and feel a sense of self-esteem but as the championship progresses, the key characters find their lives threatened even as they desperately try to use their music and dance to overcome and defy their violent destiny.

Presented in Spanish, with English subtitles.

To learn more about Director Jorge Navas’s new thriller, “We Are The Heat” (Somos Calentura) check out the links below.

Pre-order: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/we-are-the-heat-subtitled/id1450884961

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Website: https://epic-pictures.com/film/we-are-the-heat

LA Theater: http://thefridacinema.org/event/somos-calentura-we-are-the-heat/?instance_id=6702

Categories: Movies
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