IFFR: The Amazing Catfish

catfish

There we were, sitting in a crowded room, waiting for ‘The Amazing Catfish’ to start. Being part of the International Film Festival in Rotterdam (IFFR) is amazing. The atmosphere was vibrant; people talking, smiling, the smell of food mixed with the loud sounds produced by a life dj in De Doelen. I totally forgot about the way they would go about this, so yes, I was a bit surprised when filmmaker Claudia Sainte-Luce walked up the stage. She was introduced by a presenter of the IFFR. Her presence was open, sweet and grateful. She took a photo of us, her audience.

This Mexican tale moved me to the bone. It relates about the protagonist Claudia who gets to know a family within vulnerable circumstances. Slowly but steadily she gets to know each family member and each of them in their own space opens up to her. We got to know Claudia more through her non-verbal communication rather than her verbal communication. This was because of her character, someone who doesn’t speak a lot, but also because of her roots, Mexican culture.

While observing al this non-verbal communication I linked it to a part of a training I recently provided. The training is called ‘Positive communication in relationships’. I shared examples of high-context and low-context communication styles within personal and professional relationships. How Mexicans communicate is definitely high-context with lots of non-verbal communication expressed in eye-contact, gestures and pauses.

This was again demonstrated while filmmaker Claudia was interviewed after the movie. She used a lot of words and story lines to answer questions from the audience. She showed her emotions. She moved us by her presence, because she was even willing to drink whiskey and dance for us if that was what it would take to start asking her more questions about the movie. I didn’t have any questions. The emotions triggered by her movie were still trembling inside of me. I was only able to listen for a bit more and than we left.

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