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El corazón de Jesús (2003)

Civil servant Jesús Martinez suffers a heart attack. Abandoned by his wife and stuck with hospital bills he can't afford, he assumes the identity of a terminally ill patient with the same name.



2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Augustin Mendieta ...
Melita del Carpio ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fernando Arze ...
Nicolás Bauer ...
Julio Kempff Suarez ...
Maritza Wilde ...
Carolina Zaballa ...


In this pitch-black satire, selfish civil servant Jesús Martinez suffers a heart attack as the nation's economy plunges. Abandoned by his wife and stuck with hospital bills he can't afford, he assumes the identity of a terminally ill patient with the same name, and settles into the ward intending to live off the insurance coverage. At once morbid and poignant, the humor stares poverty straight in the face, offering a stinging critique of Bolivia's hospital system and unjust bureaucracy. Written by Moma

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Drama | Comedy | Romance




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Release Date:

2 April 2003 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Heart of Jesus  »

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User Reviews

Great story, reminiscent of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
7 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Corazón de Jesús (2004) the third film by Bolivian director Marcos Loayza.

There were moments of hilarity as elements common to many countries whose economic development is stifled by the long arms of bureaucracy: the "mordidas" or bribes that Jesús, who works at the ministry of finance accepts willingly; the random shuffling of papers that can change the course of a life, the inefficiency of hospitals, the frustration in dealing with insurance companies.

In many ways this was an excellent film: it doesn't moralize - in fact,the protagonist (with whom we identify profoundly) has only dubious moral standards: he is a victim of a society that requires situational ethics - but rather elicits, in laughter, an examination of the Institutions that bind and destroy the average person. The imagery, while not shying away from the realities of "La Paz" which include heart-breaking poverty, does not fixate on these elements. This is not another Latin American movie of social decadence or denouncement. Praise Be!

However, the film's absolute downfall was its attempt to divide, in chapters, with epigraph- like interludes by a less-than-talented "trovador". There was no coherence beyond the poorly sung and repetitive lyrics whose tangential relationship to the themes was extraneous at best, distracting and painfully annoying at worst. The first interlude with the staged singer is bearable, the second leads the viewer to believe that there will be a cleverly worked meshing of realities that will neatly tie the intertwining stories together. By the third the viewer realizes that there is no intention of reconciling these two unrelated spheres and there is a sense of dread as we are forced to listen to the monotonous and imitative voice several more times throughout.

The end of the story is extremely clever but the movie ultimately fails because it closes with the camera fixing on the tomb (for far too long), not of a known character, but of an unrelated, unknown personage, whose pertinence to the story is non-existent. It doesn't close with an air of mystery, but rather leaves the viewer thinking: what was thinking and why did I waste my time?

Here the overall value of the film isn't greater than the sum of its parts but rather lesser for the sum of its parts. That said, if you can ignore the bad musical performance (someone's friend or lover?) the rest was quite enjoyable.

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