When doves cry
"Paloma de Papel" ("Paper Dove") is a grim realist depiction of the chaos in an Andean village and in one boy's life when Shining Path guerrillas sweep through and force the helpless youngster into their ranks.
By MARIANA CARRE飽 KING
Set in the majestic Peruvian Andes in the 1980s, amidst a bloody civil war, "Paloma de Papel" (Paper Dove) recounts the harrowing coming of age of Juan (Antonio Callirgos), as he struggles to survive poverty, corruption and violence.
After his best friend's father and town mayor is murdered by Shining Path guerrilla fighters, 11-year-old Juan discovers that his stepfather, Fermin (Arist葉eles Picho) is a "terruco" (terrorist) involved in the crime, as well as in his own father's murder years before. Fermin then arranges for Juan to be kidnapped and indoctrinated by Shining Path rebels and Juan's life undergoes a drastic turn, from innocently chasing sheep with girlfriend Rosita (Anais Padilla Aban) and playing war with best friend Pacho (Angel Josue Rojas Huaranga) to learning how to make dirty bombs and shooting rifles under the orders of truly frightening compa貌ros Carmen (Tatiana Astengo) and Wilmer (Sergio Galliani).
|Original title: Paloma de Papel.|
Written and directed by: Fabrizio Aguilar.
Cast: Tatiana Astengo, Antonio Callirgos, Jesus Rodrigo Carvajal Navarro, Eduardo Cesti, Sergio Galliani, Anais Padilla Aban, Arist葉eles Picho, Angel Josue Rojas Huaranga, Liliana Trujillo, Melania Urbina.
Cinematography: Micaela Cajahuaringa.
Edited by: Fabrizio Aguilar.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Related links: Official site
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Sun., Aug. 15, 2004, 4 p.m.
Clearview 62nd & Broadway
Fri., Aug. 20, 2004, 8 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 21, 2004, 1 p.m.|
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Former soap-opera actor Fabrizio Aguilar makes an impressive debut as writer, producer and director as he compellingly illustrates the limbo in which many rural communities lived, caught between corrupt and unreliable government troops and fanatic Maoist Shining Path terrorists. Mr. Aguilar doesn't shy away from showing the devastation of a civil war that claimed over 30,000 lives in two decades, and indeed, some scenes are disturbing to watch. But he takes the violence and political turmoil, seen through the eyes of a child, as an opportunity to show a different side of the conflict as well: the tenderness of the mother and son relationship, the loyal friendships, the will to survive.|
Some of these scenes might be borderline soap opera-ish, no doubt remnants of Mr. Aguilar's background, but overall they are very moving and allow the characters to be multidimensional. Hence, Fermin is not only an abusive stepfather and a traitor, but also a terrified man who struggles to stay sober; Wilmer is not only a cold-blooded murderer, but also a man with strongly held beliefs who struggles to protect, and sometimes sacrifice, his own.
The actors, children and adults alike, play their parts with uncanny realism. Particularly credible are Mr. Galliani as Wilmer, Liliana Trujillo as Juan's mother and Eduardo Cesti as the old blacksmith who teaches Juan the craft and offers him the "paper dove" that gives the film its title.
| ||Aguilar takes the violence and political turmoil, seen through the eyes of a child, as an opportunity to show a different side of the conflict as well: the tenderness of the mother and son relationship, the loyal friendships, the will to survive.|
Cinematographer Micaela Cajahuaringa also does a superb job capturing the breathtaking Andean mountains and the idiosyncrasies of the local folklore. Mixing wide shots of the dramatic countryside with careful close-ups of the characters, she offers a complex combination of beauty and suffering, of open vastness and claustrophobic terror.
Although "Paloma de Papel" specifically deals with the Peruvian terrorist group The Shining Path, mostly defeated in the late 1990s, this heartbreaking film is a timely example of the ideology behind terrorist tactics, the usually inept response from corrupt governments and the toll they both take on innocent people's lives. It ought not be missed.
|AUGUST 14, 2004|
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