La Arrancada

On the Starting Line
Cuba – a country in transition. Jenniffer, in her early twenties, lives with her mother Marbelis and brother Yeyo; her father is in prison. Marbelis works for the government disinfection department; she wears herself out for her children and supports her daughter’s athletics career more than just financially. However, Jenniffer is currently nursing an injury and is considering quitting the sport.
The camera captures Jenniffer’s life in an unassuming, almost casual way, documenting her loving relationship with her worried mother, her close bond to her brother who is planning to leave the country, her conversations with friends about their complex feelings for Cuba and where they hope to be in ten years’ time, and, repeatedly, training on the athletics field. Scenes of sacrifices made to the goddess Oshun, or faces illuminated by mobile phones on ‘Wifi Square’, reveal the contrast between tradition and the modern world without explicitly addressing the topic. Jenniffer’s own transformation and uncertainty about her future are also subtly revealed. She is poised on the starting blocks – and not just in the 100-meter dash. A quietly subtle and sensitive portrait of a family.
by Aldemar Matias
with Jenniffer Rodriguez Lamoth, Marbelis Lamoth Rodriguez, Yesnier (Yeyo) Rodriguez Lamoth
France / Cuba / Brazil 2019 Spanish 63’ Colour Documentary form


  • Jenniffer Rodriguez Lamoth
  • Marbelis Lamoth Rodriguez
  • Yesnier (Yeyo) Rodriguez Lamoth


Director Aldemar Matias
Screenplay Aldemar Matias, David Hurst
Cinematography Aldemar Matias
Editing Jeanne Oberson
Sound Design Romain Ozanne
Sound Alban Henriquez
Producer David Hurst

World sales

FiGa Films

Aldemar Matias

Born in Brazil in 1985, he currently lives in Barcelona. In 2014, he completed his degree at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (EICTV) in Cuba. His short documentary, El Enemigo, screened at Visions du Réel, DOK Leipzig, True/False and San Sebastián, where it won a prize. La Arrancada is his debut feature film.


2011 Parente; short film 2013 Años de Luz; short film 2014 When I Get Home; short film 2015 El Enemigo; short film

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019