PELO MALO - Bad Hair

About film

Venezuela 2013/ Blu-ray, DVD / Language: Spanish / Sound: Dolby Digital /Image: 16:9 / Lenght: 93 min. / Genre: drama

Written and directed by: Mariana Rondón

Produced by: Marité Ugás

Starring: Samuel Lange (JUNIOR) & Samantha Castillo ( MARTA)

Cinematography: Micaela Cajahuaringa

Art director: Matías Tikas

Editor: Marité Ugás

Sound design: Lena Esquenazi

Casting: Casting: Beto Benites

Music: Camilo Froideval

VFX: Nacho Gorfinkiel

Vyprodukovala spoločnosť SUDACA FILMS v koprodukcii s Imagen Latina (Peru), HANFGARN & UFER Filmproduktion (Nemecko), La Sociedad Post (Argentína), Artefactos S.F.(Venezuela) & José Ibáñez.

S podporou Centro Nac Autónomo de Cinematografía CNAC (Venezuela)- Programa IBERMEDIA - World Cinema Fund- Berlinale (Nemecko) - Global Film Initiative (USA)

Produced by SUDACA FILMS

In coproduction with Imagen Latina (Perú), HANFGARN & UFER Filmproduktion (Germany)

La Sociedad Post (Argentina), Artefactos S.F.(Venezuela) & José Ibáñez.

With support from Centro Nac Autónomo de Cinematografía CNAC (Venezuela)- Programa

IBERMEDIA - World Cinema Fund- Berlinale (Germany) - Global Film Initiative (USA)


Slovak distribution of the film PELO MALO – Bad hair has been supported by EDEN (European Distribution and Exhibitors Network) - network that has been supported by Media Mundus since 2009. It gathers Europeans exhibitors/distributors who want to develop the diversity in their programation. The aim of EDEN is to support the liberty of programing of these professionals who want to offer a larger diversity to the audience.



 “I am nine and I have bad hair.”

“I am thirty and I have a weird son.”

“If I straighten it, my mom will love me.”

“If he keeps it up, I will hand him over to his granny.”

“I hope she won't leave me.”


Short synopsis

JUNIOR is nine years old and has “bad hair.” He wants to have it straightened

for his yearbook picture, like a fashionable pop singer. This puts him at odds

with his mother MARTA. The more JUNIOR tries to look sharp and make his

mother love him, the more she rejects him, until he is cornered, face to face

with a painful decision.



JUNIOR is nine years old and has stubbornly curly hair, or “bad hair.” He wants to have it straightened for his yearbook picture, like a fashionable pop singer with long, ironed hair. This puts him at odds with his mother MARTA, a young, unemployed widow.

MARTA, JUNIOR and the baby brother live in a large multi-family building. MARTA, overwhelmed by what it takes to survive in the chaotic city of Caracas, finds it increasingly difficult to tolerate Junior’s fixation with his looks. The more JUNIOR tries to look sharp and make his mother love him, the more she rejects him.

His paternal grandmother, a witness to his rejection, asks MARTA to give her the boy so that he can look after her. MARTA refuses and tries to correct her son’s obsession by “setting an example,” a cruel moment which was meant to be a lesson. JUNIOR finds himself cornered, face to face with a painful decision.



Director, screenwriter, visual artist. Born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. After studying Animated Film in Paris, she graduated at first generation of the Film School EICTV, Cuba. Her short film “STREET 22” received 22 international awards. Her first feature, “AT IDNIGHT AND A HALF,” (2000) co-directed by Marité Ugás, received 5 “Opera Prima” awards and articipated in more than 40 international film festivals. Her last feature “POSTCARDS FROM LENINGRAD” (2007) received 23 international awards, such as FIPRESCI at Kerala, Grand Prix at Biarritz and Revelation Jury Award at the de Sao Paulo Festival.

 In Plastic Arts, her robotics installation “YOU CAME WITH THE BREEZE” (Fundación Telefónica Award) has been exhibited in Caracas, México City, Puebla, Gijón, Lima, Santiago and Beijing as part of the Olympics Cultural Project, 2008. Her most recent work is interactive installation “SUPERBLOQUES,” accompanying the distribution of the film Pelo Malo.

Director´s note

 One of the first images that came to me for this movie was a large multi-family building and the thousands of stories that take place behind those walls: heat, nudity, precariousness, fragility, sensuality, sex, violence, family, mother, child. The little, intimate stories I magined grew more complex and so my characters were born.

 They are helpless characters. Wounded and hurtful adults, and children who are learning how to hurt. Marta, the mother, focused on survival, teaches her son Junior to survive just like her, without resources, without freedom. But Junior is different, he fights with everything he’s got for his desire: to straighten his hair and to dress as a singer for a picture he wants to give his mother: a picture that would show him as he wishes to be seen.



Junior is going through a difficult initiation in life, marked by his mother’s intolerance, who constantly nags him, convinced of his sexual ambiguity. Junior doesn’t understand her anger, however, he tries to set her at ease, even by giving up on his desire.

 Caracas is also hostile to them, a city of urban, political and family violence. Dreams encapsulated in multi-family buildings- the result of Le Corbusier’s “Utopian city” project in the 50s- now turned into massive vertical hells. My characters live surrounded by references that fail to include them. The walls are now a canvas for representations of power, ideological statements; an iconography that feeds them on political messianism and beauty pageants. Empty models that end up bringing them back to their hopelessness.

About the actors

From the moment when Samuel and Samantha first met, they liked each other. I needed intimacy and friendship between them, something that is indispensable to create characters who live in conflict and violence.

Samuel was the first to audition for the role of Junior. He fought for three months with many other kids to keep the role. Over time, he became more confident and grew as an actor. What struck me most about Samantha, was her energy. My job was to channel that energy. I appreciate the way she trusted me and was completely devoted to working in the moment as I directed her, improvising scene to scene without showing her the script. Indeed, none of the actors ever saw the script.

We rehearsed a lot before we shot. We created bonds, shared experiences. We kept coming back to the relationships, changing them, making them more complex until we found that comfort zone for the actors; where after so much improvisation they found their own small truths. And, most importantly, we had a lot of fun.


Reviews and awards

San Sebastián - Golden Shell, Best Film

Thessaloniki - Special Jury Prize & FIPRESCI Award

Mar del Plata - Best Director & Screenplay

Torino  - Best Actress & Screenplay