3 oct. 2010
My Review: Prometeo Deportado (8/10)
Prometeo Deportado is an Ecuadorian movie that couldn`t have been released at a better time. The day before the film`s national debut in Ecuador there was political unrest after President Correa was trapped inside a hospital surrounded by police protesting over recent government measures. Military troops had to storm in and rescue the president while all over the country hundreds of robberies were taking place in the streets due to the police strike. The entire world saw what was happening and it was really an embarrassment for the country which has gone through similar situations over the years. Prometeo Deportado was directed by first time director Fernando Mieles who also wrote the story and in a way gave his fellow countrymen a mirror in which they could see themselves through. The film depicts several different national characters representing a different region and race in a very stereotypical and funny way. The movie is one of the funniest I have seen all year, but I´m afraid that in order to enjoy it you have to be Ecuadorian or at least know them to understand the different stereotypes it tries to make fun of. The movie finds a clever way to put all these people together in one place and the fun begins when these different characters have to interact with each other. Even though they are from the same country, they are very different from each other and at the same time you can find general similarities, but Mieles does a great job at making the viewer identify with each one of these people. I felt I knew every character in the movie, from the devout catholic old ladies, to the circus magician, to the corrupt lawyer, and so on. They are everyday ordinary people you run into in the streets of Ecuador.
The story takes place in an undisclosed airport in Europe where Ecuadorian passengers have to wait in a different line in order to get through migration. A couple of them get arrested and they are all taken to a separate room where they have to wait to be deported. Among the large number of Ecuadorians that are left waiting in the room indefinitely and without any explanation is Prometeo (Carlos Gallegos), Ecuador`s greatest magician and illusionist (or so he claims), a writer (Peki Andino), whose name is never disclosed and who no one has ever heard of, Doa Murga (Juana Guarderas), a lady in her forties who is married but is forced to travel to Europe in order to make more money for the family, Angel (Andrés Crespo) and his wife, who are simply traveling as tourists and feel like they are much more important than the rest because they have money, Hemeregildo (Raymundo Zambrano) a man who seems to be hiding something under his clothes and who the migration officers look very suspicious at, an Ecuadorian athlete who claims to be a swimming champion, a want to be model, three old ladies who are traveling together, a lawyer who takes advantage of people for a living, and many other memorable characters. These people have to learn how to get along with each other in a very small room in the airport. As days pass and more and more Ecuadorians are brought into the room the situation begins to get chaotic and their true nature is brought out.
Prometeo Deportado was really a well written and funny comedy, while at the same time a philosophical and deep character study on its citizens and the migration cycle the country has gone through in the last decades. The first hour and a half is extremely funny as these characters are forced to go through some unfortunate situation, later the last half hour becomes a bit darker and the movie seems to jump from comedy to drama. It was a very difficult transition to make and I would`ve preferred the director stuck with just the comedy, but he wanted to get his philosophical point across. None of these characters were actually heroes and when they are forced to face difficult situations their real nature comes out and they tend to act as uncivilized people. In a way Mieles has been trying to make us laugh at ourselves and trying to make us identify with one particular character and once we do that he jumps to the darker side and exposes our true nature. Towards the end of the film it seemed as though it was every man for himself; the law of the jungle where only the strongest could have power and rule over the weak. By the end of the film however the director reminds us that we still hang on to our illusion of escaping this chaotic world and that hope is never lost no matter how corrupt our society has become. We still hang on to our hope of becoming better people and learning from our mistakes. I would have preferred the film stuck with the comedy since those are most of the memorable scenes. My favorite scene was when everyone began sharing some of the typical food they were bringing in their suitcases like crabs or barbecued guinea pigs. I wonder how many airport migration officers have had to open suitcases like this in real life with the oddest things in them. They will probably get a good laugh out of this film. I recommend this if you’re Ecuadorian or know anything about them because it is a really funny film that pokes fun at some of their stereotypes.