Saturday, 7 April 2012

Elsa Pataky and others in "Máncora" BR720 [2008 Peru, Spain]

This is a rare re-review in this blog. Having recently re-watched Ricardo de Montreuil's Peruvian drama, "Máncora", I realise my earlier assessment was perhaps a bit harsh. And it is only fair that I give it a more balanced review again. Oh well - who said rabbits always get it right the first time! :)

Given the risqué nature of the film's storyline, far from messing things up, I think the director had done a commendable job in treading delicately on the subject - the film would have been an altogether different product in the wrong hands. While the story pushes the boundaries of conventional morality, not least that of deeply conservative Peruvian society, it doesn't delve on their portrayal for more than is needed. I can see that the screenplay and direction have also been inspired by the style and tone used in the Mexican classic "Y tu mamá también" - it is treated like a road movie for a period of time, and similarly show characters intellectually 'growing-up' as the film progresses. This is nevertheless a much lighter film, which may well been the reason why I was initially put-off. It is a film intended for an informed albeit younger mainstream audience, and it achieves its purpose of injecting positivity into cynical youth without sounding preachy. The film is also aided by its tourist-brochure-like sparkling cinematography - the locations in and around Mancora where it was mostly shot are actually quite stunning, as is the vibrant soundtrack. I'm pleased to say - this is Recommended Viewing..!

Amazon Blu-ray Link
(Value for money as it also includes a delightful Puerto Rican comedy "Maldeamores")

Twenty one year old Santiago is shattered after his father commits suicide. His half sister Ximena from New York makes a surprise visit with hubby Iñigo to console him. After they learn he's heading for Máncora, a quaint fishing village north of the country where Santi and Ximena spent childhood holidays, they too decide to tag along. Ximena, whose marriage to Iñigo is getting rocky, spends more time with half-brother Santiago, and they venture into uncharted territory - technically at least, they're committing incest. And it doesn't take long for Iñego to find out either. All three party, get stoned and get laid in chaotic fashion - Iñego tries to get even with Ximena by not only having a fling with a bar-girl, but also asking Ximena to join them for a threesome. Santiago fools around with some local girls but harbours feelings for Ximena that are not essentially brotherly. Things seemingly heading in a downward spiral are rescued by a combination of events, even if the way the film ends sounds tad fanciful.

Elsa Pataky, Ángela Alegria Velásquez, Anahí de Cárdenas, and Liz Gallardo

Elsa Pataky, Ángela Alegria Velásquez, Anahí de Cárdenas, and Liz Gallardo in "Máncora".

Scene Guide:
  • Ximena changes into underwear in Santiago's presence and mockingly tells him off for looking at her. Ximena is played by the utterly delectable Elsa Pataky. But alas, a brief flash of Ms. Pataky's buttocks is all we get to see nudity-wise in the film.
  • After smoking a joint at the beach, Ximena decides to get wet (no pun intended), and Santiago follows, both soon end up rolling in the sand, making love.
  • At a party, naughty local rich girl Ana Maria, played by Anahí de Cárdenas, and her girlfriend La Cachi, played by spicy Ángela Alegria Velásquez invite Santiago to join them for a game of 'Squash'. I think I could get used to that sport...
  • The best is saved for the last - this is of game Liz Gallardo who plays the barmaid that Iñego prepositions, having some carefree fun - she's however disappointed his wife Ximena had refused to join them for a threesome.

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