Don’t assume from the trailer for Imelda and Luis that it is a delightful story about two innocents. It is not.

The film may only run eighteen minutes, but it packs in enough darkness to satisfy the viewer who isn’t aware of, or who enjoys watching the more seedy side of life.

It begins and ends with a child bride, running toward the intended adult groom. Between these two images, there are many more disturbing ones.

Six-year-old twins, Imelda and Luis, are delicately played by Ishkra Zavala and Luis Solis. More screen time with them would have provided relief from their sordid family. Both minors give sensitive, thoughtful performances, and their interaction is unaffected and lovely. Hopefully, we will see more of them together.

In this story, their characters’ choices of escape from a dysfunctional mother and elder brother seem doomed to end unhappily. There is no glimmer of hope.

Imelda and Luis grips, disturbs and leaves a bad taste. From the script, also written by director Lionel Chee, it is assumed that is its intention.

Imelda and Luis screens as part of the digital offerings at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival through October 7. Visit for tickets and information.