Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Máncora" premiere at Sundance '08

For months, bloggers have been building expectations for tonight's world premiere of Ricardo de Montreuil's new feature film Máncora at the Sundance Film Festival. The film depicts the tribulations of a set of gorgeous young actors involved in a variety of parties and sexual combinations. While this did appear to draw some sympathetic excitement out of young partiers in the audience, it left those looking for any literary or artistic merit rather unimpressed.

The film opens with Santiago, an extremely good-looking and unaccomplished 21-year old who is too busy partying and having bathroom-stall sex to answer the phone when his father calls to let him know he is about to commit suicide. The father leaves a message -- and jumps off a bridge.


Santiago finally gets the news and is very distraught. He mopes around his apartment half-clothed and refuses to answer the phone until his "sister," Ximena, calls from New York. In a particularly clumsy bit of exposition she drones into the answering machine: "I know that I am your sister by the marriage of our parents only, and we have not seen each other for six years, but I want to see you. I am married now, and I am coming to Lima on Thursday with my husband ..."

Mercifully, Santiago is moved to pick up the phone at this point, and before you know it the gorgeous by-law-only sister,
Ximena, and her extremely sexy husband, Iñigo, are in the apartment all talking about who will sleep where.

The three agree to go on a road trip Santiago has planned to Máncora, a surfing town in the warm north of Peru. What follows is a litany of parties and increasing alcohol and drug use that facilitates a series of events that seems designed to substitute blood and sex for plot and substance.


At the first all-nighter, Santiago gets in a party-stopping fight then has sex with his "sister,"
Ximena. The next day, Ximena's sexy husband, Iñigo, comes back full of accusatory innuendo (Iñigo inexplicably ran off in the middle of the road trip, of course leaving the other two alone to have sex). Santiago is then drawn into harder drugs and kinkier sex with two hot blond debutantes. The party+sex scenes get extremely long and seem to be a collection of loud music videos that are separate from the almost-nonexistent movie. Oh, and we also get to see sexy-husband Iñigo have sex with a Mexican hottie.

Yes, Ximena pouts, and Santiago mopes, and
Iñigo acts crazy -- but the characters are rolling-paper thin and we don't care about them.

An hour into the movie, most of the audience is shuffling and giving rolling-eye looks to their confidants. Some of the major-newspaper film critics (we won't name names here) have actually walked out.

It is possible there are goals of the film that are lost on a non-Peruvians. After decades of totalitarian repression, the freedom of the film's characters to lead dissolute lives in a post-Fujimori era might paint a more compelling tableau to audiences there. But here in Park City, Utah, there is no escaping the director's self-indulgence, which rivals that of his characters.

At the end of the showing, there was enthusiastic applause from small groups of the audience who look a lot like the characters in the movie: young well-off party kids. Most of the rest of the audience makes a B-line for the exit.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The movie was awesome. I had a very good time seeing it. It was refreshing and exiting, the photography was great, the art direction was impecable, and the direction was amazing. Having the ability to get people that have never acted before and making the film real and believable is amazing.
I'm very happy for you guys.
all the best

schott said...

Who ever posted this review obviously has never seen this film… I believe that Mancora overall was a very solid film..actors delivered great performances, the photography is gorgeous, the music was superb and the direction impeccable.

I was impressed that the theater stayed full for the Q&A, something I’ve rarely seen at a Sundance screening for an international film, and (I’ve attended many for many years). A good friend of mine attended the screening today and told me that the movie received the same great reactions just like in the first screening, he even heard the theater manager say she had rarely seen such a good reaction to a film on this year’s festival.

There’s lots of buzz for this film….people and press are talking about it. Check the variety note on the films as one of the top 25 movie to watch on Sundance.

Lady and the Tramp said...

I would like to go to Peru and have sex with beautiful people. I would maybe like to film them. Should I see this movie to understand how to do this?

Anonymous said...

I was at the second showing at Sundance, and the crowd seemed to love it as much as I did. I think it was definitely my favorite of all the dramas that I saw at Sundance.

I was one of those people that had to jet immediately when the credits hit so I could make my next movie, that was showing 30 minutes later across town. I'm sure many people who leave immediately were probably in the same boat as I was.

I so wish I could have stayed for the Q and A, but I couldn't.

This movie really left a huge impression with me!

Anonymous said...

I was at the second showing at Sundance, and the crowd seemed to love it as much as I did. I think it was definitely my favorite of all the dramas that I saw at Sundance.

I was one of those people that had to jet immediately when the credits hit so I could make my next movie, that was showing 30 minutes later across town. I'm sure many people who leave immediately were probably in the same boat as I was.

I so wish I could have stayed for the Q and A, but I couldn't.

This movie really left a huge impression with me!

Flaco said...

I was also at the Sundance showing. Yes, the movie has too many scenes with young white people partying and sexing. B

But the real offensive part of this film is the way native Peruvians are depicted: as crazed thug and killers that hate and attack white people for no reason.

In every scene where there is a native Peruvian, they are shown abusing women, being drunk, hating all white people, and killing for macho fun. You would leave the movie thinking that all peoples with brown skin in Peru are this way, whille all peoples with white skin in Peru and beautiful and sexy wanting only fun.

Anonymous said...

jeez, i haven't laugh this hard since, well... the great «is andy garcia white or hispanic» debate... (dears, cubanos come in all colours...) talk about not being aware of cultural backgrounds, you ever read or seen a film by latinos/hispanics before? are you even a little aware of that culture? because *part* of it is based on: pleasure (finding and keeping it), sex (because among other things it's really pleasant...), booze (makes everything that sucks fun), making money (to become, remain and buy things that makes the person happy) and finding yourself (i.e. your actual life vs the american dream)... they are recurrent themes in many of their artistic endeavours. from what i've read the film does that, it present some if not all of these themes...

one way i would be unimpressed is if the film had been made by say a group of extremely traditional (sex does not exist and it's not fun) caucasians. simply because north american regard (as a cultural group, not as individual) that sort of life style with... disdain maybe? (i'm at lost for the right word...) i suppose it sucks to say that there is double standard in art, but there is. just look at pedro juan gutiérrez, if he was an american named peter john goodwin his books would be considered pornographic, but he is not an american named peter john goodwin, he's cuban and his writing is called literature... and that is what makes art so colourful, it embrace our own difference.