Sunday, July 01, 2007

Copa America Film Festival, Group B

Day Two of the Copa America had a huge upset -- Brazil 0 - 2 Mexico. Ofcourse, Chile's comeback to beat Ecuador 3-2 was news worthy but everytime Brazil loses a game, no matter at what level, it is considered a shock.


Brazil always has an abundance of talented soccer players at all age levels. In fact, the Brazilian soccer team is often spoiled for choices. Likewise, I found too many film choices for the Brazilian entry. But in the end, my choice was a film that I had wanted to see since I missed it at the film festival last year. And it was a good choice.

The Man Who Copied is an entertaining film that contains all the symbols one has come to associate with modern Brazilian movies -- poverty, crime, bank robbery, Rio & its postcard picturesque shots. Still the film is charming once the narrative overdosed first 25 minutes are over. As the title alludes to, the film is about a photocopier. André has a boring job photocopying documents all day long. But he manages to keep some sanity by photocopying book pages for his personal collection. And he rounds off his days by spying on Silvia, the cute girl who lives across the street. But love does not come cheap. André needs money for his future love, so he & an accomplice hatch up a scheme to mint money using his copy machine. A few twists manage to mesh his love story with his crime streak leading towards a cool finish.

Brazilian football is easy on the eyes -- slow movement accompanied with a string of beautiful passes, a few step-overs, jigs, fakes, dribbles and then an explosive drive to round off the game. Similarly, this is an easy going film that slowly gets into its groove, picks up speed, throws in a few twists to catch us off guard and then ties up all the loose ends.


Viva la revolution! Mexican folklore is rich with tales of revolution and fights against injustice. While El Violin (2006) was a recent black and white masterpiece about a revolution, it is refreshing to find a gem from the 1930's. El compadre Mendoza had a different take on the revolution -- it shows a wealthy person who can make or break a revolution. Rosalío supports both the government and Zapata's revolutionaries. But the tight political game that Rosalío plays has a price -- in this case it is his family's life that is at stake. An absorbing watch!


Andrés lives a solitary life repressing his desires and needs; most of his time is spent looking after his grandmother. In order to better take care of his grandmother, he hires Estela. But the young Estela raises suppressed desires in Andrés. It turns out that his religious upbringing is to blame for him starving his body of carnal sins. And Estela is too tempting to pass up. On the other hand, Estela is new to the city and goes through her own self discovery. Coronación also gives us glimpses of the class differences that exist in Chile while handling a story of love, desire and crime.

The film may have gotten plenty of awards but at 140 minutes, it is too long and nothing to rave about.


In the late 1990's Ecuador made the news in North America only for its kidnapings and crime. So it was not surprizing to find that crime and corruption formed the backdrop for the first ever film that I saw from Ecuador. The film's title comes from a popular hit song and hence music is the other major component of this movie. A forced love story is also thrown in for good measure. Poor acting and average camera work really make this a strained watch.

Final Group B Standings:

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