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‘Caribe:’ Giant Step for Costa Rica Movie Industry

November 12, 2004

STUNNING natural imagery,a heated plot and a backdrop ofsocial disquiet make the CostaRican film “Caribe” an unprecedentedendeavor in the country’semerging movie industry.The film, based on CarlosSalazar’s story “El Solitario”(The Solitary) (TT, Nov. 5),revolves around the theme ofmaking choices, from leading adouble life of infidelity, to supportingpetroleum exploitation, tochoosing what to eat for dinner.In the lead role, Cuban actor JorgePerugorría embodies a man who succumbsto his indecision and inability to makeresponsible choices. Perugorría, famous forhis performance in “Fresa y Chocolate,”describes his experience playing Vicente as,“extremely enjoyable. My character fallsprey to doubt – he allows others to corrupthim. He has many shades, and as an actor,you seek this complexity.”Cuca Escribano, “Caribe’s” leading ladyfrom Spain said “Ever since I read the book,I fell in love with the project. This is a wonderfulcountry, full of wonderful people.Our team was international and this is a veryLatin movie, very diverse.”ESCRIBANO, whose previous work includes the film“Poniente” (West), plays Vicente’s loving, caring wife,Abigail, who has overcome a troubled family history toenjoy the illusion of a carefree, prosperous present next toher husband on their Puerto Viejo farm, in the Caribbeanprovince of Limón.“To Abigail, her husband is the most important thing inthe world,” the actress said.The film follows the unspoken complications thatdevelop in their marriage after the arrival of Abigail’s long lostsister, played by Mexican actress Maya Zapata, winnerof the Ariel, the Mexican equivalent of the Oscar, for herperformance in “De la Calle” (From the Street).Although the movie’s focus on illicit love, maritalproblems and sexuality veers toward the soap opera-ish, itappears a forgivable consequence of the un restraint ofnature to which the film seems to draw a parallel.WHILE the themes of petroleum exploitation andgreed play secondary roles to love complications, MauricioÁlvarez, from the Costa Rican Federation for theConservation to the Environment (FECON), affirmed themovie “denounces corruption and violence and bears witnessto five years of continuous struggleagainst petroleum exploitation in the area.”Álvarez explained the movie isextremely realistic in its portrayal of theorganization of groups in favor and againstpetroleum exploitation.“Harken corporation has historical ties to(U.S.) President (George W.) Bush and theBin Laden family and they still want toexploit the Caribbean and northern regionsof our country,” he said. “In Costa Rica,environmentalism is not about little birdsand trees, it’s about politics, and some yearsago, environmental activists were beingthreatened with violence, like in the movie.There is even a rumor that public officials inLimón were receiving bribes to go along with the project.”Álvarez also believes the movie’s representation ofcorruption and bribery “is like a microcosm for what ishappening today on the national level.”FORMER foreign minister Rodrigo Madrigal said themovie is a notable effort on the director’s part.“It shows how very different cultures meld in theCaribbean,” he said. “The movie is about a struggle againstpoverty, about the human fiber. Its message is vehement,very strong.”“Caribe” directorEsteban Ramírez wasawarded the title of BestDirector at the XIX LatinAmerican Film Festivalin Trieste, Italy, before themovie came out in CostaRica.A milestone in CostaRican film, with its livelyand accurate portrayal ofthe Caribbean, “Caribe” will touch the hearts of all of thosewho love Limón.THE movie is showing at theaters throughout thecountry, for a complete schedule, see the movie listings onthe inside back page of The Tico Times.For more information on FECON and how to becomeinvolved in environmental activities, call 283-6046 or 283-6128.

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