Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rolos en Rio

Rio's in the midst of its annual film festival, and luckily for me the tiny little theater from my neighborhood is participating. It only has 40 seats, and last night when we went they raffled off 2 loaves of whole grain bread (?), which took a good 15 minutes and lots of bobadas (silly, nonsensical commentaries). They were showing a Colombian film called Karen Llora en un Bus (Karen Cries on a Bus) that to be perfectly honest hadn't interested me all that much from the trailer (it was one of those trailers where after seeing it you have zero idea what the movie is going to be about), but some Colombian friends were going so we figured why not.

Though it wasn't a movie I would necessarily see over and over again, I thought it was well worth it, and a particularly good example of the type of conservatism found in Colombia. The movie's about a rola (from Bogota) housewife named Karen who decides to leave her marriage. When she goes to her mother's house, her mother asks, did he beat you or cheat on you?  When the answer is no, the mother calls the husband to come and tells her daughter that she needs to be with him. What I most liked about the movie were the small details that were right on-- the utter horror at having to live in a scummy house with cockroaches (I'm not saying that anyone likes that, but Colombians really don't do bugs or grime), the mother's immaculate house with dust ruffles for the kitchen appliances, Karen's shame at having small breasts. Last time I was in Bogota I stayed with friends who live just a couple of blocks away from her apartment in the movie. Like with most movies, it would be really easy to write off the particular situation as outdated or uncommon, but I can tell you that a close friend of mine went through a very similar situation, and I don't think her experience was at all unusual. Though divorce has become quite common, it's still looked down upon and the women are generally blamed for it no matter what the circumstances.

The best part of the movie last night for me was when Karen begins to see another man, and he quickly asks her to move with him to Argentina, where he will support her. She agrees, but then he asks her to pass him his suit jacket (which is the same thing they had shown her husband doing) and everyone in the theater yelled "Ooooooooo" and then burst out laughing at the collective reaction. Well done, movie. Now if only the film festival had included themed food (and before you roll your eyes, check this out)...

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