Meet Rebeca Huntt. Known to her friends, colleagues, and co-conspirators as Beba, Huntt introduces herself with an artfully defiant voice in her self-titled debut feature. Beba, which is now streaming on MUBI, sees Huntt invite audiences to enter her universe. The film is a ruthlessly poetic exploration of selfhood as Huntt examines her relationships with family members and tests the loyalties of her closest friends. She acts as both the lens and subject, and takes personal filmmaking to new heights as she navigates family history and generation trauma to assert her authentic voice in the present. The emotions are raw and heartfelt as Huntt opens her life to the world.
The daughter of a Dominican father and Venezuelan mother, Huntt reflects upon Blackness and mixed race heritage. Beba lyrically tackles what it means to experience the world through a racialized lens, and how an artist like herself sees the world when others look at her through the baggage of their own prejudices. Huntt uses a mix of verité footage and staged encounters to confront her mother and her friends about issues of race and identity in contemporary America. She forces tough, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners conversations that reflect her peers’ ignorance to the reality of her daily struggles. Shot in warm 16mm, though, and buoyed by introspective, poetic narration, Huntt shows how breaking free can be the ultimate act of self-care. She’s consciously ambivalent in her quest, inviting audiences to join her along her exploration knowing that the destination isn’t clear.
“Fuck yeah, I’m supposed to be a film director,” Huntt told POV’s Gesilayefa Azorbo when the film premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. Huntt might seem cocky, but her confidence is well earned. Beba unapologetically owns the space that Huntt creates for her story onscreen.
“It was incredibly anxiety-provoking for me but I just kept coming back to knowing what my intentions were,” said Huntt. “And I know that no matter how complex my relationships are with each one of my family members, that what is underneath that is an infinite amount of love.” Love her or hate her, Beba’s voice is fiercely Huntt’s own. This introduction is boldly and brutally beautiful in its honesty.
Beba is now streaming on MUBI.
POV readers can watch it now with a 30-day MUBI trial.
Read more about Beba in our feature from TIFF.