Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Submitted By Ecuador: Porcelain Horse
is nice to know class privilege still counts for something under the Correa
regime. Take the well-heeled junkie
brothers, Paco and Luis Chavez—please.
All they want to do is slack about and free-base. They will do some rotten things to support
their habits and largely get away them, until a reckoning finally catches up
with them in Javier Andrade’s Porcelain
Ecuador has selected as their official submission for the best foreign language
the two, Paco would be considered the more responsible older brother, if you
are grading on a generous curve.
Technically, he holds down a job as a clerk in the bank his family
founded (thanks solely to their influence).
He also has the dubious stability of a long term sexual relationship
with Lucia, his married former high school hook-up, who is addicted to softer
is his parents’ favorite, whereas his delinquent brother Luis is not. The
younger Chavez brother has a mountain of debt with his dealer, but his only job
is fronting a garage band so amateurish it would be a high compliment to call
them punk. Nonetheless, they start to
build a following when Lucia’s spurned husband starts managing them. Although the brothers do not get on well,
they often join forces to raise drug money. However, their plans to swipe a
fateful bit of bric-a-brac from their parents’ home will set in motion a tragic
chain of events. Viewers will have to
wait for it to play out though.
Porcelain’s trailer suggests a punk
rock bacchanal, the film on the screen is more like an Ecuadorian Brett Easton
Ellis story. There is a whole lot of
drug use and existential angst, but the slam bang stuff is mostly confined to
the eleventh hour. Frankly that is
rather a shame, because Ecuador could use a good dose of punk’s snarling
contempt for authority.
it is good to note Columbia alumnus Andrade could return home and produce such
a seedy foray into Charles Bukowski-Larry Clark territory. You really have to wonder how much of the
film the consulate representative who introduced last night’s screening had
really seen. Of course, lambasting the
idle wealthy probably never goes out of style.
their credit, Francisco Savinovich and Victor Arauz fully commit to the Chavez
Brothers’ unsavory scruffiness. The former is particularly unsettling as the
soul-deadened Paco. Andrés Crespo also brings
some needed fierceness as Lagarto, the uncharacteristically patient drug dealer
(but he still has his limits). Indeed,
nobody looks like they are faking it during any of Porcelain’s scenes of vice and indolence.
Andrade is clearly a bold, risking taking
filmmaker, but his tacked on postscript is decidedly surreal and didactic,
completely at odds with the rest of the film’s jittery naturalism. It is interesting to see Porcelain Horse is out there, but it is unlikely to be a player this
Oscar season. Those intrigued should
keep an eye of Cinema Tropical’s website for future screenings opportunities.
Labels: Ecuadorian Cinema, Junkie films