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Jacob van Oppen, the former strongest man on earth, and his manager Orsini, who calls himself "the Prince", make a good living by traveling around small South American towns and organizing wrestling exhibitions. Arriving in Santa Maria, they are met with uncommon enthusiasm, the local newspaper wants to sponsor the fight, helping hands placard the town with posters, and an open call is made for a worthy adversary. Ever so resourceful, Orsini knows how to find the right combatant, but fishing in Santa Maria could lead to a bigger catch than he'd hoped for. Written by
Warsaw Film Festival
Uruguay's official submission to 82nd Academy Award's Foreign Language in 2010. See more »
My boyfriend is going to fight that Champion. But first, you have to deposit the money.
I'm sorry to tell you that there's already a Challenger.
Why him and not my boyfriend?
There can only be one contender.
The sad ceremony, young lady. Or is it that in this town you bury your men without a wake?
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Probably the most unforgettable Spanish language film I've ever seen
I was having a bad day. Rented out both Skyline and this movie, and though Skyline was not nearly as bad as rumored, I'd be much prouder to have directed Bad Day.
The two leads, Gary Piquer and Jouko Ahola, the manager and wrestler respectively, are magic together. There was no mistake making their relationship the heart and soul of this film. They essentially rode into my memory without triggering the slightest hesitation on my part.
Gary, Prince Orsini, is a bit of a huckster though it's clear he's had some breeding. Jouko as the champion, Jacob van Oppen, is everything he should be, physically and emotionally. He's a massively muscled German, I think, whose best days are behind him. There's a world of humanity in his eyes though his life is being severely circumscribed by his handler and his quickly fading youth.
They go town to town challenging the local toughs for a prize they don't even have. They're barely scraping by. And then they visit Santa Maria, where the local tough, The Turk, is no push over. His betrothed is desperate for him to win enough for their wedding. Antonella Costa as The Turk's intended, Adriana, is every bit as skillful and unforgettable as the two main leads and in some ways, the whole film rests on her performance.
This is a real find which I intend to pass on to others whenever I get the chance. It's not flashy or grandiose but it nevertheless is totally affecting. I marveled at how effortlessly it was played out almost as if everyone involved were born to play their part.
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