After the prelude of watching a backpack-laden young man, Salvador (played by Diego Ruiz) wend his way through London streets to find his aunt, we meet the center-of-gravity of this story and film both, Maria (played by Paulina Garcia). Weathered but oozing warmth, she seems to flash the smile lines around her ever ready for winking eyes.
A synopsis of this movie might convey that this is Salvador’s story. He is a bankrolled young Chilean man suddenly without funds. We watch him as he takes up any number of jobs for which he is barely suited. He falls for a girl who spells trouble. His besties are a pyromaniac and her drug dealing Russian illegal boyfriend who also rent a space in Maria’s flat. Eventually he stumbles into luck, enabled by these friends, and most of all, at every turn, by his aunt Maria.
For this reviewer, Salvador’s fate is an everyman story with a predictable happy ending that you will likely welcome. That is, if the everyman is a bright middle class kid from what one imagines is a relatively privileged Chilean family. It would not only disappoint if he didn’t land in a happy place by film’s end, it would also surprise.
Not so with Maria, whom we get to know on a deeper level than the other flat denizens, especially the late arriving NGO worker who flits in from time to time in between global protests. How endearing it is to see how her face lights when she finds a roach under the couch cushion. When we realize she is cleaning the tiny flat from the party last night, to prepare it for the new party tonight we glory in her party girl patina. Maria seems to have a lot of friends, and it is her friend magnet abilities that actually power the various plot turns, as she rescues Salvador and others from one or another personal crisis. Everybody loves Maria, with the possible exception of her daughter. That backstory, and the reason for their breach is revealed to us slowly.
The ups and downs of Salvador’s life that the film puts most front of mind strike this writer to be more of a red herring. Concentrate on his story and this becomes almost a b-rate film. Keep your eyes on the unusual and compelling character of Maria, and it becomes as magnetic as her character. Perhaps it doesn’t hurt the film that Paulina Garcia brings a gravitas of top-shelf acting talents to bear on her role.
Another OVID.tv find for Pandemic Times
I AM FROM CHILE is certainly a good change-of-scene for anyone who is ‘sheltering in place’. Once the pandemic passes, this is a film that will especially appeal to those who value seeing older women actresses in choice roles.
Diego Ruiz, Paulina García, Ivan Alvarez de Araya, Tamara Ferreira, Catalina Aguayo, Santiago Meneghello, Robert Scott, Katerina Cabezas, Alejandro Goic, Shlomit Baytelman
Gonzalo Diaz ... executive producer
Film Editing by
Art Direction by
Costume Design by
María Elisa Canobra ... boom operator
Christian Cosgrove ... sound
Roberto Espinoza ... sound editor
Boris Herrera Allende ... sound mixer
Marco Lopez ... sound effects editor (as Marco López)
Sebastián Pappalardo ... sound effects editor: additional
Camera and Electrical Department
Gonzalo Diaz ... camera operator
Alfredo Rojas ... camera operator
Daniel Dávila ... colorist / post-production coordinator
About the Author:
Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.
Amy hopes the magazine’s click-a-picture-to-read-a-vivid-account format will nourish those ever hunting for under-discovered cultural treasures. She especially loves writing articles about travel finds, showcasing works by cultural warriors of a progressive bent, and shining a light on bold, creative strokes by fledgling artists in all genres.