Note to the Visitor:

I have reached the point in the populating of this website where it is necessary for me to forge ahead and fill out the twelve Destinations in broad brushstrokes. I will then double back and continue to update each destination with blog posts.

Modern Central America

Viva Maria!  (1965)

El Norte  (1983) – Guatamala

Salvador  (1986)

Romero  (1989) – El Salvadore

Voices Inocentes  (2004) – El Salvadore

Return to El Salvador  (2010) Documentary

The Mosquito Coast  (1986) – Honduras

Last Plane Out  (1983) – Nicaragua – Not Available

Under Fire  (1983) – Nicaragua

Walker  (1987) – Nicaragua

The Panama Deception  (1992) – Documentary

The Tailor of Panama  (2001)

Viva Maria! (1965)

A surprise discovery in 2011, this was a vehicle for Brigittte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau directed by Louis Malle. Brigitte opens the film as the child of an Irish anarchist who helps her father blow up buildings. She ends up in an invented Central American country called San Miguel (it was filmed mostly in Mexico). She wanders into the encampment of a circus/theatrical caravan and teams up with singer Jeanne Moreau. Brigitte in her nervousness invents the striptease and the two women, now called Maria and Maria, achieves fame in the downtrodden towns. They meet up with a revolutionary leader named Flores (George Hamilton) but think little of him until later. The time period, I think, is the turn of the last century. There are some very picturesque scenes of the circus caravan moving across the countryside. After a time of successful touring, they find themselves in the midst of the revolution. Soon after they meet up with Flores again, he is shot. He pleads with Jeanne to continue his fight against the generals and the landlords. She persuades the reluctant Brigitte to join her. Brigitte’s experience with demolitions and firearms becomes useful. All of this had been carried out with deft touches of visual and verbal humor, but when the fighting begins it gets a little heavy-handed. The battles are fairly murderous and only at the end does the humor return as the two women are revered as saints by the victorious peasants. This movie is a great deal of political-historical fun. See also Banditas (2006).

The Tailor of Panama  (2001)

Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush take the lead roles in this convoluted spy drama set in Panama City.  Based on the 1996 novel by John le Carré, the story revolves around the desire of the U.S. to regain control of the Canal and keep rival interests away. This agenda is complicated by the fumbling espionage efforts of the two main characters.  It is a decade or so after the 1989 invasion that took out Manuel Noriega. One character observes, “They got Ali Baba but they didn’t get the 40 thieves.”  Panama now seems to be infested with corporate and government operatives. Virtually all of the characters in this film are Americans or Europeans. What is interesting here is inside views of the precincts of corporate power encircling the bay, and occasional glimpses of life on the city streets at the turning of the millennium.  In the beginning, there is a brief print legend about the building of the Canal and the taking of control by Panama in 1999. In the end, the Americans launch a massive attack echoing the assault of 1989, but it is called off as the government realizes that the whole thing is bogus.

Central America Related Posts:

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