Friday, August 26, 2011

A Typical Colombiana?

Typical colombiana?
The Colombian government's Proexport office has spent millions of dollars marketing the country as a tourist destination where 'The only risk is wanting to stay.'

So, the country really needed yet another Hollywood movie perpetuating Colombia's image as a murderous place whose people are paid assassins.  Colombian organizations in New York are already criticizing the film.

The action film, whose reviews have been less than spectacular, tells the story of an Afro-Colombian girl whose parents are murdered by a drug lord in Bogotá. The girl emigrates to the U.S., where she grows up and sets about hunting down her parents' killers, who, strangely, are living in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Not particularly original - which the problem. Filmmakers undoubtedly could find more original themes about Colombia, including the country's tremendous culture and wonderful people, almost none of whom become assassins. But perpetuating the same old stereotypes about drugs violence is so much easier and more profitable. 

Extras hit the ground on Plaza Bolívar
after a soap opera assassination. 
At least, Colombians can't pin all of the blame for this one on the gringos. The film was written and  produced by Frenchman Luc Besson and made by Sony Productions.

And, spreading the blame for bad P.R. around, during the last few days Colombian TV station Caracol has been filming a soap opera about a fictional assassination of a Colombian president - something which I don't believe has ever happened in real life.

Even so, Colombia has had more than its share of violence. Media recently reported about a teenage girl in Medellin who has allegedly committed a half-dozen murders and headed a band of child assassins. But horror stories like hers are the very rare exception. But the movies, sometimes, make them seem like the typical Colombian.

Zoe Saldaña, who plays the film's protagonist and, has defended Colombiana. Saldaña, whose family is from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, says the fictional assassin provides a positive image because she is "a woman with lots of ingenuity." Maybe so, but ingenuity can be used in other ways.

Extras wave flags during soap opera filming on Plaza Bolívar.

Running away after the fictional assassination.

Cheery extras. Not such a bad assassination. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Marcela said...

I'll have to watch this before I judge but I have to say I'm not looking forward to it. Hopefully, at least, it won't be geographically wrong like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Where do they get their researchers?


Rudi said...

After reading this article, I felt inspired to elaborate further on the theme of "reputation" from my perspective as a total outsider to Colombia.

If you're interested, the whole thing is to be found here: