Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Copa America 2011: Costa Rica

Entry #6 of the Copa America 2011 Book & Film Festival.

Book: Cocori by Joaquin Guteierrez

Cocori is a thoughtful children's book set in Costa Rican locales of a lush jungle and a beach. Young Cocori’s life is changed when he comes across a young blond girl who presents him with a rose. Unfortunately the rose withers after a day leaving a sad Cocori to question its quick demise. In order to seek an answer, Cocori leaves home without telling his mother and heads deep into the jungle. Along the way, he befriends animals who are willing to accompany him in his quest and who suggest that an answer for the short life of the rose might originate from two of the oldest animals of the jungle, the alligator and the snake. But those two aged animals have no answers for Cocori who instead finds his answer closer to home. There are a few illustrations in the book which are useful in portraying the main animal characters but there is no illustration of the little girl. Overall, a change of pace from the remaining books read as part of this spotlight.

Film: Cold Water of the Sea (2010, Paz Fabrega)

The film contains parallel stories of seven year old Karina (Montserrat Fernández) and a woman Mariana (Lil Quesada Morúa) going through a difficult time in their lives. The two are separated by a few decades in age but both are misunderstood by those around them and in a way are suffering a slow death. When Mariana first encounters Karina, the young girl tells Mariana that she has run away from home and claims she was abused by her uncle. Mariana and her companion Rodrigo (Luis Carlos Bogantes) are concerned about Karina and want to look after her but the following morning, they are surprized to find Karina missing. Mariana cannot get Karina out of her mind and those thoughts unhinge Mariana. After this point, the film is depicted in a manner which makes the two females appear as reflections of each other. One can imagine Karina would grow up as Mariana, and looking at Mariana one can see shades of Karina.

Paz Fabrega’s camera shows the natural beauty of the ocean but also points at the danger that the beach can contain like in the form of snakes. The title refers to the fact that the cold water causes sea snakes to leave their water habitat to instead seek warmth in the sandy beaches. The snakes are not shown to bite Karina or any of her friends but in one scene, Karina mentions she was bit by a snake only for her claim to be dismissed by her uncle. The snake bite could be another story made up by Karina like the abuse claim because no scenes are shown to verify her words. Instead, the young girl’s expressions lay a seed of doubt in viewers. Such scenes of doubt are common place in Cold Water of the Sea as are scenes which don’t fit in with the story of either female such as those that point to the changing landscape of Costa Rica’s coast, such as the selling of land to foreigners for building hotels or resorts. Overall, the film leaves plenty of contemplative room for audience to make up their mind regarding what is going on but there are some ideas which could be better etched out. Still, the film is worth a look and Paz Fabrega is a director to keep an eye out for.

Copa America Campaign

Costa Rica decided to send a young Under-23 aged team to the Copa because of the senior team’s commitments in the Gold Cup. So that meant the entire purpose of Costa Rica’s presence in Argentina was to give their youngsters much needed experience for future tournaments. In that regard, the young Costa Rican team gave a good account of themselves by narrowly losing 1-0 to Colombia before running circles around Bolivia with a wonderful 2-0 win. Jole Campbell was a real discovery for the Ticos in the Bolivia game and scored the second goal. Campbell’s pace was also on display for the final group game against Argentina but Costa Rica never stood a chance against a Messi inspired Argentina team who won 3-0 but could have scored more goals. Still, Costa Rica narrowly missed making the quarter-finals and were only edged out on goal difference by Paraguay for the second of the best third team spots. Costa Rica can call their participation in the Copa a success and Campbell’s display is already drawing interest from both Arsenal and Manchester United.

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