Alba is eleven years old and terribly shy. She has great difficulty standing up for herself among the precocious girls in her class, who talk like little adults about relationships but keep making fun of Alba with the cruelty of children. The fact that she gets nosebleeds at inconvenient moments doesn’t help. To make matters worse, when her ailing mother is hospitalised she is dumped with her eccentric father Igor, who she never knew and of whom she is very ashamed. Very slowly and cautiously, the father and daughter get to know each other. Alba is a coming-of-age film that is both heart-rending and unsentimental. It’s striking that such a mature and powerful debut comes from Ecuador, the country that until the beginning of this century had only made one film a year. Young leading actress Macarena Arias is one to keep an eye on. She manages to use a minimum of dialogue to devastating effect.