Sunday, October 29, 2006

Who killed the little white llama

A low-budget road movie made here in Bolivia has been drawing crowds and a lot of critical attention. "Who Killed the Little White Llama" is the story of a scrappy couple named Jacinto and Domitila who get mixed up in a drug deal and have to haul 50 kilos of cocaine from one end of the country to the other.
(In this scene, Jacinto, with a fake mustache, seduces a French woman.)
It's very funny, probably more so if you get all the cultural jokes and accents. The tissue-thin plot is a pretext to explore all the cultural and political issues of the day and to caricature the people who represent some of Bolivia's problems -- racism, political corruption, crime, drugs and violence. The title comes from an incident in which the two main characters, high on cocaine, accidentally run over a little Indian girl's pet llama. They make their escape, but a car carrying a gringo happens upon the llama, a crowd forms and they immediately begin hurling insults and take to him with their cudgels. The gringo protests to the crowd in Spanish, "I'm a Bolivian! I'm Mister Bolivia."
And as the narrator of the movie delights in telling us in an aside, the gringo, Duston Larsen, is a University of Nebraska graduate who has Bolivian citizenship and whose father lives here. True. Mr. Bolivia 2004, Duston Larsen, plays himself in the movie.
Jacinto and Domitila make their way through 10 cities to the border with Brazil, and the resolution of the plot is worthy of Fielding's "Tom Jones" or a Dickens novel -- long-lost relatives, mistaken identities, double- and triple-crosses, etc.
Here's the link to the movie's website:
The director, Rodrigo Bellott, who is from Santa Cruz, shot the movie in 10 cities in Bolivia for $150,000. I'm glad I didn't see it my first week here. I would have missed half of the cultural references. As it is, I saw the movie twice and still had trouble figuring out what Jacinto was saying most of the time.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:13 AM

    I saw that movie and it was great. It's not a movie for the closed minded.