4 user 1 critic

Crossing a Shadow (2007)

Una sombra al frente (original title)
The story centers on Enrique Aet (Diego Bertie), the eldest child of well-to-do Lima family whose engineer father died in 1886 when Enrique was 10. 21 years later, he has followed his ... See full summary »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Diego Bertie Diego Bertie ... Enrique Aet
Vanessa Saba Vanessa Saba ... Doris Beltrán
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Darío Abad Darío Abad
Milena Alva Milena Alva ... Guillermina Aet
Nidia Bermejo Nidia Bermejo ... Jacinta
Cécica Bernasconi Cécica Bernasconi ... María Cristina
Gianfranco Brero Gianfranco Brero ... Joaquín Cañedo
Carlos Carlín Carlos Carlín
Rossana Fernández Maldonado Rossana Fernández Maldonado ... Rosa Aet
Alberto Isola Alberto Isola ... Don Beltrán
Gonzalo Molina Gonzalo Molina ... Oswaldo Aet
Lorena Navarro Lorena Navarro ... Anita
Pierina Pirotta Pierina Pirotta
Arturo Prato Arturo Prato ... Young Enrique Aet (as Arturo Muñoz Prato)
Wendy Vasquez Wendy Vasquez
Learn more

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The story centers on Enrique Aet (Diego Bertie), the eldest child of well-to-do Lima family whose engineer father died in 1886 when Enrique was 10. 21 years later, he has followed his father's calling and heads a road project into the Amazonian jungle, the goal being nothing less than to unite the country.

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una sombra al frente | See All (1) »




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Peru's Official Submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008). See more »

User Reviews

a better-than-average Peruvian film
26 October 2007 | by SebaZavaSee all my reviews

It's not every day that a Peruvian film is filmed and released, especially one such as Augusto Tamayo's Una Sombra Al Frente. Yes, it's not perfect; yes it a little over-long and can drag a little, but it's an admirable effort of Tamayo's, a Peruvian movie of quality, especially when compared to commercial, teen-oriented garbage such as La Gran Sangre. Tamayo took his time to create this film – it's been five years since the filmmaker started to pen the script – and it tells. The script is pretty solid, the acting is great, and Tamayo's direction, while not superb, is really good.

The film takes place in Peru, in the early 20th century. The movie follows the life of Enrique Aet, (Diego Bertie) an engineer whose main obsession is to improve communications between the Peruvian jungle and Lima. The construction of a bridge in the jungle fails, though, and Aet, after having a brief affair with a local girl (Nidia Bermejo) returns, injured, to Lima, where he's awaited by her fiancé, Doris Beltrán (Vanessa Saba), daughter of the owner of an important newspaper. (Alberto Isola) The movie tells the story of Aet's obsession, his problems with Doris, his rivalry with a fellow engineer (Carlos Carlín) and his family issues, especially the problematic life of his brother Oswaldo (Gonzalo Molina) and the nervousness of his mother Rosa. (Rossana Fernandez-Maldonado.) Since this film is mainly a drama, one of its most important aspects is the acting, and it delivers. Diego Bertie, as the protagonist, is effective, and portrays a perfect worried and sometimes troublesome engineer, obsesses with his ideas and his work. Vanessa Saba, apart from being extremely beautiful, is a good dramatic actress, being her scenes alone with Diego Bertie the best ones. Carlos Carlín, as the main "bad guy" (so to speak) is effective, although he doesn't have enough screen time to be totally hated by the audience. The trio is accompanied by the best Peruvian character actors, some in small roles, and some in bigger ones; all of them are effective and enhance the quality of the main characters' acting and the plot. Gonzalo Molina, though, as Enrique's brother, looks amateurish and his acting never totally convinces. He should have portrayed his character as a rebellious type, but ends up being really boring guy; one never gets to root for him, even when bad stuff happens to him.

Additionally, even though the film's script and direction are all pretty solid, it seems as if the director loved the project too much (after all, it's pretty personal, since it's based on his great grandfather's life) and wasn't able to cut anything from it. The movie sometimes drags, especially in the middle section, and clocking at two hours and a half, should have been shorter. The scenes in the ship going to Europe, for example, are totally unnecessary, as is the introduction of a character – the Spanish woman – that does nothing apart from having sex with Diego Bertie. Tamayo's direction is pretty solid, but I found some editing glitches and some camera framing that could have been better. (The excess of fades to black also bothered me.) One thing that is a first – I think – for a Peruvian movie is the special digital effects; they are of mixed quality. The shot of the ship traveling in the sea, for example, looks great and entirely convincing, while the scene of the bridge falling apart in the jungle is laughable. The CGI used in there is extremely obvious; Tamayo should learn for the next time that, if used incorrectly, computer effects can look fake, and that there are alternatives for these kinds of shots. (Models, anyone?) Also, Víctor Villavicencio's score is kinda of a mixed bag. There are some scenes – mostly the quieter ones – in which the music is soothing and appropriate, but in certain occasions, such as the aforementioned bridge scene, the music is too loud and cheese; it sounds too "electronic" and inappropriate for the kind of movie; it almost gives the scene a B-movie feel which it shouldn't have.

It may sound as if I was complaining too much about the movie, but I'm not. The acting is effective – sometimes almost perfect-, the photography is beautiful, the direction solid and the story interesting. Sadly enough, the movie could have used some cutting to make it more kinetic, and Tamayo should have found alternatives for some effects shots. (By the way, Bertie's moustache in the second half the movie looks laughably bad; he looks like the Monopoly guy!) It's a really good effort from a Peruvian director and crew and, although it's not precisely for the whole family (there's some full-frontal female nudity, a couple of sex scenes and quite a lot of swearing), but it's solid, interesting entertainment. I wish Tamayo all the luck in the world at nominating the movie for the Oscars; it's time for us Peruvian's for having a film of ours nominated at the famous ceremony!

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Release Date:

13 September 2007 (Peru) See more »

Also Known As:

Crossing a Shadow See more »

Filming Locations:

Lima, Peru See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


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