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Reviews for April 15th, 2009


Oblivion

Directed by Heddy Honigmann.


In Spanish with subtitles. This captivating documentary focuses on the daily lives and struggles of everyday people residing and working in Lima, Peru. A bartender, Jorge Kanashiro, works across from the Presidential Palace in Lima at restaurant, where he mixes a drink called Pisco Sour while candidly talking about the history of Peruís politics and how corrupt it has been throughout the years. He speaks with calmness and warmth, but thereís some sadness in his eyes as if he has many regrets bottled up inside of him. The same can be said for the other featured in the film, such as Maria, a mother whose three children perform cartwheels at traffic stops where they collect donations from people in cars. Her eldest daughter had been hit and killed by a car during a performance, yet the rest of her children still continue to perform. David Gutierrez, a student, earns a little money as a street juggler who also performs at traffic stops. Director Heddy Honigmann combines all of the footage of Peruvian civilians, young and old, without resorting to voice-over narration or preachiness as a means to inform. Instead, she wisely allows her subjects to speak their mind and be themselves without sugar coating anything, just like she did with her subjects in her last film, Forever. As you watch other civilians, such as waiters and a frog juice salesman, going about their daily activities, they gradually shed light on the political and economic atmosphere in Peru, where the corrupt and incompetent government has led to financial hardships which they are struggling to recover from every single day. Hidden beneath their words, youíll find layers of tenderness and melancholy which they donít always express through words nor do they have to because, instead, youíre able to sense it through their voices and facial expressions. Itís also worth noting that the simple, yet subtly powerful images of Lima provide an illuminating glimpse into the poverty that exists in Lima without hitting you over the head with the message. At a running time of 93 minutes, Oblivion manages to be an honest, captivating, quietly poignant and illuminating documentary.
Number of times I checked my watch: 1.
Released by Icarus Films. Opens at the Film Forum.





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