That a tiny, heartfelt picture like Alejandro Guzmán Alvarez’s Distancias Cortas (Walking Distance) has been nominated for five Ariels, Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscars, speaks to how stale ours have gotten. (Even the extreme gore-fest Tenemos La Carne was nominated for three Ariels! Well done, Academia Mexicana.) In Distancias Cortas, the 450-pound Fede (Luca Ortega) finds it difficult enough to move around his squalid Mexico City apartment, let alone beyond it. Seeing a fancy-ish digital camera owned by his brother-in-law Ramon (Mauricio Isaac) inspires Fede to make the rare trek outside to a camera store staffed by teenage comic-book aficionado Paolo (Joel Figueroa) to get an ancient roll of film developed, and maybe even a new camera of his own.
A three-way bromance develops between Fede, Paolo, and Ramon as Fede begins to explore the outside world, and while there there’s a lot of hugging along the way, damn if every hug isn’t earned. Similarly, Distancias Cortas skirts turning Fede’s sister Rosaura (Martha Claudia Moreno) into a nag, but her exasperation also feels honest, being the blood relative long tasked with keeping Fede safe. And if you scoff at selfies because you hate other people having fun, Fede’s joy as he takes his first ones will bring you to the side of the angels.
Distancias Cortas (Walking Distance)
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.