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Friday, May 30, 2008


Victor Gaviría ’s bleak look at the disaffected, violent youth culture in Medellin, Columbia (circa 1989) has been overtaken by cultural and political currents that make it play like yesterday’s news. With its large non-pro cast of young delinquents, you can lose track of the narrative even as the loose structure and basic film technique work toward verisimilitude. If the punk rock trappings pin down the period for us, it’s a haunting scene on a bus with the lead adolescent and an elderly, blind neighbor that shows what’s missing from too much of the film. Just before the credits roll, a title lists the death toll on members of the cast even before this film was released. How many have followed since ‘89? A return look, with juxtaposed footage from this film, would make for a far more interesting work. Sad, frightening stuff.

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