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Thursday, April 10, 2008

La Zona


Before writing about this movie I have to read what non Latin American viewers think of the movie as this very well done movie has one of the most disturbing stories I have ever seen as it really touches home, where I live right now and where I have lived before. See, I need to acquire an objective point-of-view, as right now I am not able to gather nothing else but a subjective and very personal pov about the story that can be resumed as a true catch 22.

This amazing Rodrigo Plá debut as a director –he also co wrote the screenplay with his real life wife- tells a story set in Mexico City, but let me share with you that what you will be able to see here happens in every major city in any Latin American country where you have upper and middle class gated communities with wired high fences to “protect” them from the nearby slums.

Well, browsed the net and it seems not many people have seen it or if they had, they haven’t comment about the story, most comment on how good the movie is. This is quite unusual as almost always you’re able to find viewers comments about the story. But tells me a lot about what non Latin American viewers may see in a story like this.

I have to concur with most critics and viewers that this is an outstanding film with very high production values, excellent director, very good actor performances, great editing, fantastic art direction, great cinematography that aids to increase the thrills, the many shocks, and gives a truly cinema verité feeling about a raw reality that perhaps surrounds mainly the so-called third world country upper/middle classes and becomes “another” story to those not living this raw reality.

I know that the story is about a community that is willing to sacrifice every human value in the name of “security” in a lawless and corrupted society. Like most animals, humans in this community will do anything and everything to protect their families, their possessions and their lifestyle. And gee, do they do it and it is terrible to watch especially because everything that they do is nothing out of the ordinary, of what you read in newspapers and of what you hear from your neighbors, acquaintances and work mates. And it is worst when you have experienced something alike in your own flesh and the unbelievable thoughts that come to your mind and well, you don’t act upon them but you surely think about them.

That’s enough about the story, let’s talk about the movie that is magnificent and one that is a must be seen to enjoy an extremely well done drama with many tense moments thanks to many unexpected situations and twists. Is that kind of movie that will grab your attention from the very beginning until they start rolling the credits when you will be at the edge of your seat. This is a truly outstanding debut for Uruguayan born Rodrigo Plá that lives and works in Mexico.

By the way, the filming location was Toluca very close to where I lived while living in Mexico City and yes I was living in a gated community with electricity wired very high fences. After many years of not being in the country where I am currently living, now I find that those communities have mushroomed all around this city and no, I gave up on fenced communities, but still have some “security” that surrounds me. Terrible!

If you browse the blog you’ll find many honors, nominations and awards for this amazing movie that won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best First Film at the 2007 Venice Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Award at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.

I highly recommend this movie to all audiences, but be aware that is not an easy to watch movie. I waited a long time to be able to see this movie and well, even if it really touched home, the wait was more than worth it.

Big Enjoy!!!

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