January 1st deals with tough themes such as divorce, crime and social inequality in a surprisingly light fashion. This youth road movie is a beautiful Latin American coproduction with a cast and crew from, among other places, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
Twelve-year-old Sebastián’s father has just left. Supposedly to go and work in the city, but everyone knows his parents have split up; his mother even has a new boyfriend. To get at the latter, Sebastián helps the local criminal break into his mother’s restaurant. However, to his shock, the thief makes off with much more than agreed including the much-loved piano, an heirloom of his father’s. Together with his best friend, Sebastián travels to the big city to get the piano back.
The boys’ journey is a dangerous, educational and cathartic one for the boy who, at the start of the film, mainly cared about his games console.