A review of the latest made-in-Xela film. By Diana Pastor
On October 8th, the film “Aquí me quedo” was released in several national cinemas. Written and directed by Rodolfo Espinosa, it’s not the first film shot in Xela and it’s not the first Guatemalan film to find comercial acceptance. What, then, is so special about this production, which has attracted the attention of the media and the general public?
Maybe (as Espinosa has theorized) it’s because it explores a genre almost untouched in Guatemalan film: comedy. And it’s not a traditional comedy, but rather a species of what in my view, is a new subdivision of this: the cultural comedy. Why? Elements such as the traditional values of Guatemalan society are reflected in the actions of the protagonists, the playful commentaries on the country’s current reality and a mild scattering of patriotic symbols combine to show that even with limited resources, a truly creative work can be produced, making people identify with situations and locaions.
The Cerro Baul, Laguna Chicabal, the general cemetery, historic downtown and other places characteristic of Xela provide a backdrop for the film, which tells the story of Paco, an unfortunate young man who comes to Xela to visit his dead uncle and is kidnapped by Willy, an unemployed man with a personal crisis. The dialogue develops in a way that they exchange the roles of kidnapped and kidnapper.
Aquí me quedo was originally planned as a short film, but was later adapted into a full-length feature. Apart from screenings in commercial cinemas, it’s also been shown in cultural sites such as Casa No’j and Los Chocoyos, obtaining public acceptance.
This is an interesting film, not only for its mainstream acceptance or its minimal (US$3000) budget. Also noteworthy is that the central protagonist Carlos Hernandez (an accomplished musician and songwriter) is the author of the main theme of the film, also titled Aquí me quedo.