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The Dancer Upstairs (2002)

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A police detective in a South American country is dedicated to hunting down a revolutionary guerilla leader.

Director:

John Malkovich

Writers:

Nicholas Shakespeare (novel), Nicholas Shakespeare (screenplay)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Javier Bardem ... Agustín Rejas
Juan Diego Botto ... Sucre
Laura Morante ... Yolanda
Elvira Mínguez ... Llosa
Alexandra Lencastre Alexandra Lencastre ... Sylvina Rejas
Oliver Cotton ... Merino
Luís Miguel Cintra Luís Miguel Cintra ... Calderón
Javier Manrique ... Clorindo
Abel Folk ... Ezequiel / Durán
Marie-Anne Berganza Marie-Anne Berganza ... Laura
Lucas Rodríguez Lucas Rodríguez ... Gómez
Xabier Elorriaga ... Pascual
Natalia Dicenta ... Marina
Wolframio Sinué ... Santiago
Ramiro Jiménez Ramiro Jiménez ... Sergeant Pisac
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Storyline

The story of Detective Agustin Rejas, a man clinging to the hope of an impossible love in an impossible world. Tracking Ezequiel, a delusional anarchist who incites the downtrodden masses to join in his brutal revolution against the fascist government in their unnamed Latin American country, Rejas finds solace in his sense of self-respect and the joy that his daughter and wife bring him. Then he meets Yolanda--his daughter's soulfully beautiful ballet teacher--a woman who sparks his long-forgotten passions and represents all that is good and all that is corrupt in their troubled country. But she, who appears to be a shelter from the storm, may in actuality be the storm's eye. Ultimately, as the revolution intensifies and the net closes around hunter and hunted alike, the dancer's truth will prove as elusive as the revolutionary's cause and the detective's peace. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An honest man caught in a world of intrigue, power and passion.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Spain | USA

Language:

English | Quechua | Spanish

Release Date:

23 May 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sendero de sangre See more »

Filming Locations:

Ecuador See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

€100,224 (Spain), 22 September 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$106,142, 4 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,377,348, 21 August 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,227,348, 31 December 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The depiction of the dogs hanging was based on an actual occurrence where several dogs were found hanging from street lights in central Lima one December morning with profane messages denouncing Chinese leader Xiaoping Deng (who Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman thought had betrayed the communist revolution). The dynamite inserted into the dogs' bodies was based on rumors that the hanging dogs may have contained explosives, though no explosives were actually found on the dogs when they were cut down. See more »

Goofs

The camera that Bardem uses to take Ezekiel's picture at the military checkpoint is a either a Polaroid Model 95 made from 1948 to 1953, or the Model 95B was discontinued in 1958. The picture that Bardem holds is a square format SX70 color shot identified buy its square format and black square on the back. This picture which could not have come from the camera used by Bardem. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Indian 1 in Pick-up: [calmly after hitting road-side cop, about person on radio] Why does she talk so much?
Ezequiel: [equally calm] She's preparing to sing.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers would like to thank ... the residents of Narcisos Street ... See more »

Connections

Features State of Siege (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Who Knows Where the Time Goes
(1967)
Written by Sandy Denny
Performed by Nina Simone from her album "Black Gold"
Courtesy of BMG, Spain
© Clippers Ediciones Musicales, Barcelona
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very interesting movie with a semi-political subject
18 December 2004 | by philip_vandervekenSee all my reviews

Having seen "Being John Malkovich" recently, I expected a lot from "The Dancer Upstairs" and I have to admit that I really was enchanted by it. Even though it never says which country in South America this story is based on, it's clear that it must be Peru. There just are too many references to the rebel movement The Shining Path, president Fujimori... But it's good that it never says that it is actually Peru. There are more South American dictatorships, more rebel movements...

It tells the story of an ex-lawyer who has become police officer, because he wanted justice to be done in the right way. He has to hunt down and arrest a revolutionary guerilla leader, but as he digs deeper, he'll find out that more people are actually supporting the rebels than he thought, even the people that he never suspected...

What I liked so much about the movie is the way it portrays everything. It doesn't fear to show the violence committed by both sides, but also shows the beautiful side of the country (its landscapes, its culture,...). Some say this is clearly a right-wing movie and that Malkovich is right wing as well. What has the political preference of the director to do with it? This movie isn't right-wing, nor is it left-wing. It clearly shows both sides, giving you the police detective who works for the right-wing government, who falls in love with the left-wing activist.

If there is one remark that I have to make, than it must be the fact that the actors didn't speak in Spanish. Now they had some weird Spanish-English accent. But all the rest was really very good. I give it an 8.5/10.


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