Fresh off Jill Soloway’s Emmy Award win for her television series Transparent, we thought it was finally time to properly feature her award-winning short, Una Hora Por Favora. Making a splash on the festival scene way back in 2011 (it played Sundance in 2012), Favora is a prime example of a short film being a harbinger of great things to come. Granted, it’s not like Soloway was a Hollywood unknown prior to this film (she was a prominent voice on shows like Six Feet Under and the United States of Tara), but with Favora she took the directorial reigns, proving that she was not only a very strong writer, but also a filmmaker with a distinct cinematic voice. In other words, it’s the ultimate calling card.
The premise is one that could have easily been hacky—one that plays on stereotypes and the cultural clash between a well-to-do white Jewish Los Angelean woman (Michaela Watkins) and Hispanic day laborer (Wilmer Valderma). And, yes, some of those expected moments are in there. But, just like Soloway handles the transgender experience in Transparent, this film isn’t just played for cheap laughs. Beyond the easy punchlines (nagging Jewish mother, bad Spanish pronunciation), it’s a surprisingly emotional short—one that addresses issues of loneliness and a desire for a human connection. Like some of the best comedy, it uses a high-concept to reach for something real—something that extends beyond the obvious, “trailer-friendly” moments. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience—charming and smart, peppered with hilarious comedic beats and some great visual gags
Soloway has a fantastic knack for making sympathetic characters out of non-sympathetic and selfish people: Transparent is full of them. And, with Una Hora Por Favora—a film with a much broader comedic tone—it’s fascinating to watch as she begins to up her cinematic game, prepping to knock it out of the park with her own original series just two years later.