La Restauración (The Restoration) plays as part of this year's Vancouver International Film Festival.
La Restauración (The Restoration) plays as part of this year's Vancouver International Film Festival.

Set in Peru, La Restauración revolves around the old versus new, architectural design and classism, viewed through the eyes of Tato, a cocaine-addled-would-be-architect and general bum.

The story also revolves around a mother’s disappointment in her son and his inability to live up to her or anyone’s expectations, including those of developers and lawyers and excepting those of drinkers and drug-dealers.

The fate of the family mansion is at stake, but Tato finds a way to satisfy his mother’s wish to die in her own bed, in her own room. He mends his dissipated ways in the process. Familial love triumphs over the odds. There are plenty of odds over which to triumph.

This movie is tight, well-paced and sublimely ridiculous. As Tato, Paul Vega heads a cast of superb actors whose timing in the comedy scenes is hilarious and whose depth of emotion in the more sober sequences rips the heart open. Have your tissues nearby.

The music is perfect, particularly Tchaikovsky’s Dying Swan, when Tato’s mother, Donna Rosa, played with pithy spunk by Atilia Boschetti, realizes that a trick has been played on her.

Alonso’s Llosa’s direction even outshines Lima’s old architecture. Llosa also adapted his and Gustavo Rosa’s original story for the screen.

Packed with belly laughs and tears, this feel-good movie is guaranteed to cure all ills.

La Restauración (The Restoration) screens as part of the digital offerings at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival from September 28 through October 7. Visit viff.org for tickets and information.