“Days of the Whale” Review: A Relevant Message For Today

By Joanna Panayi

Director Catalina Arroyave Restrepo was born in Medellín, Colombia. In 2010 she co-funded Rara, an-art house producing company based in Medellín. Her debut film, Days of the Whale, won two screenplay awards, the most important Colombian production fund (FDC), and had its world premiere at the 2019 SXSW film festival. It will have a U.S. virtual cinema release on July 24, 2020.

Days of the Whale

Cristina and Simon are part of a collective art center for a group of young revolutionaries in Medellín, Columbia. She is an upper-middle-class college student living with her father and non-accepting girlfriend. Unfortunately, Cristina’s mother is a journalist that had to flee from Columbia to Spain as she feared her safety from Melledins street gangs. All Cristina wanted was to stay out of trouble. Until she started to develop a love for Simon, an ex-gang member converted artist. Simón comes from a working-class background and lives an innocent life with his grandmother. Although Simón did not want to participate in the streets anymore, the gang members targeted his motives to become an artist.

The criminal street gangs make an effort to target the collective art center, with threats and cryptic messages to invoke fear in the artists. Cristina and Simón share a love for each other and hate the violence of these criminal gangs, thus provoking them to paint over the cryptic message left in front of the center with a symbolic whale.

Days of the Whale have the strong performances of Laura Tobón (Cristina) and David Escallón(Simón). Their chemistry is undeniably raw to the core and moving to watch. A Days of a whale captivates eyes with gorgeous colorful cinematography, capturing the versatility of creative art and expression. Arroyave brings these beautiful components together to tell a story of the mighty strength of youthful rebellion in Medellín, the city notoriously known for violent crimes.

The film Days of the whale is enchanting to watch and beautifully written, as it questions the morality behind risk taking. Fear and violence are meant to silence, and to suppress freedom of expression. Yet, with the high spirited Cristina and Simón, they use their fear as an act of strength, fearlessly rebelling against the potentially life-threatening consequences. Days of the Whale teaches viewers to stand up for what’s right, even when it means there is a consequence, it is a risk worth taking. In current news, protests, and injustices, this message has never been so relevant.


Days of the Whale – Los días de la ballena – Official Trailer 2019 from Rara Colectivo Audiovisual on Vimeo.