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Juan Sebastián Aragón,
Manuel José Chávez
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The tempestuous love story between Fernando, an older man who has recently returned to his crime-ridden drug capitol hometown of Medellin, Colombia and the gun-happy 16-year-old assassin Alexis, who murders all too easily. When Alexis himself is fatally gunned down, grief-stricken Fernando hunts for his young lover's killer in the Medellin slums, but instead encounters Wilmar, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Alexis. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Occasionally venturing into dreamlike surrealism, the movie mostly hits you with a heavy dose of cinema verite. The movie is about the city of Medellin in the same way that Midnight Cowboy is about New York. The characters aren't dealing with the problem of staying human in a huge metropolis, but staying human in the midst of instability that verges on anarchy.
The effects of fifty years of civil war aggravated by narcotrafficking and the associated crime are shown in two ways, which are the central themes of the film: the shift from the old and traditional to the modern, and the loss of value that human life has suffered. The banality of the several killings in the movie drives home the second, and the explorations that Fernando and his two boyfriends (sequential, not simultaneous) take through the city show the first.
The movie is violent like the Godfather is violent: the killings are not gratuitous, they are there to make a point. As a document of life in an industrial Andean city which just happens to be the second city of the country poised to become the next Vietnam, or better said, the next El Salvador, La virgen de los sicarios is excellent. It is sophisticated in its writing and its photography. The characters are human and complex. It ought to be in far wider release than just one screen in the whole L.A. area - which happens to be on the West Side, where Spanish-speaking people typically don't live.
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