There’s an abrasively realist candour to this Colombian portrait of a woman pushed to the brink by the incremental stresses of her daily life. Silvia (Carolina Sanín) is a single parent, a public-sector lawyer tainted by a brewing scandal, and the daughter of Leticia (Leticia Gómez), an explosively ill-tempered widow who responds to her cancer diagnosis with chain-smoking and vitriol.
It’s this latter element that brings the film, directed by Franco Lolli, its arcing, unpredictable energy. The relationship between Silvia and Leticia is like a magnifying mirror, bouncing and building their matching antagonism. Both performances are superb, but Gómez, as the razor-tongued matriarch, is particularly bracing. Even as she sinks towards death, the sharp edge of her perennial displeasure cuts through her weakness.
Meanwhile, Silvia’s son has inherited the family anger management issues, and Silvia listens with barely concealed irritation as his teachers voice their concerns about an incident involving a toy kitchen. More like snapshots from a family album than a neatly tied up journey, Litigante delivers emotional authenticity and a raw open wound of an ending.