Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Culture: Binge-Watching Colombian Movies

(Drivebycuriosity) -  My wife and I have been binge-watching a bunch of Colombian movies in preparation for our trip to Colombia. Thanks to Netflix & Amazon we could enjoy about a dozen films produced & shot in this country:

We really enjoyed the erotic thriller "The Hidden Face/La cara oculta" (2011 imdb), which is set in Bogota. The girlfriend of a successful orchestra conductor had disappeared (this is a spoiler free blog. you can find a synopsis here  wikipedia). Director Andrés Baiz, who also shot the Netflix series "Narcos", and the writers Arturo Infante &  Hatem Khraiche created a lot of surprises which kept us on the edge. Even Alfred Hitchcock could have been proud of such a suspenseful thriller.

We also indulged in two movies by the Colombian director Ciro Guerra:
"Embrace of the Serpent/El abrazo de la serpiente" (2015 ) is set around the year 1940 and describes the journey of an American scientist through the Colombian part of the amazon rain forest - accompanied by a native shaman (imdb). They followed the trails of a German explorer who had traveled  there 30 years before accompanied by the very same shaman. The film is a fascinating & philosophical study about humans who are dealing with the untamed tropical nature.

The Wind Journeys/Los viajes del viento" (2009) (imdb) follows another journey. Here an accordion player hikes through the country, accompanied by a mule and a young apprentice. The movie is funny and shows gorgeous images of Colombia´s landscape shot by cinematographer Paulo Pérez.

"Rosario Tijeras" (2005) was another positive surprise. The movie is a reference to Colombia`s violent history and tells the story of a young woman, who is killing criminals as a revenge for being raped in her youth  (imdb). The film is rough but also partly erotic.

"Emerald Cowboy/Esmeraldero" ( imdb) focuses on a Japanese entrepreneur who has build up an emerald mining & trading empire in Colombia in a vicious environment.

"Maria Full of Grace" describes the fate of some girls who smuggle cocaine in their stomach from Colombia to New York, the so-called drug mules (imdb). I have seen the film before in German cinemas. It maybe the most commonly known of these movies. The well made film is co-produced by HBO and other American companies but shot in Spanish and partly set in Colombia.

"The First Night/Primera Noche" is another reference to the violent history, here the story of some victims of the Colombian civil war (imdb).

"Sins of my Father/Pecados de mi Padre" is a documentary where the son of Pablo Escobar tells the story of the late drug overlord (imdb).

All these movies are recommended for those who are seeking for an alternative to Hollywood and who wish to learn something about a fascinating South American country. Enjoy!

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