El Regreso

This afternoon Angela and I went to the movies for the first time in… well, in a long time. We saw a movie called El Regreso:
As you can see, it’s actually from Costa Rica.* It’s the first Costa Rican movie I’ve ever seen, although it can’t really be argued that there’s a huge catalog of them to choose from. It’s about a young writer who comes back to Costa Rica to visit his ailing father after living in New York for 9 years. For the first 10 minutes or so I had some strong doubts about the movie, since it seemed to highlight all the things I find annoying about the country (an abundance of bars on the windows; overweight, fruit-eating bureaucrats; the general shittiness of San José; and family members completely freaking out and overreacting to everything). Plus, there were some people in the movie theater that wouldn’t shut up at the start (another thing I don’t care much for here). But after that point it seemed to shift and get better, the people in the back shut the hell up, and Angela and I both ended up enjoying it.
Angela and I were picking apart some of the details, and we think that it was pretty accurate when it came to depicting the capital, the weird shifting of address forms between Usted and vos (but never tú, of course!), and the strange abundance of Dos Pinos products. We joked, though, that the most implausible part was that not only was the protagonist a writer (in Costa Rica!), but that his father was also a writer, and a popular writer, at that! Also, there’s one thing that occurred to me about two hours after we left the theater: the movie’s got a lot of similarities with Garden State. I’m going to have to investigate this more and watch Garden State again, but I can say that there are also enough differences that it’s far from a rip-off.
In any case, if you happen to see this playing at a movie theater or a video store sometime, it’s worth checking out. It does shed some light on Costa Rica’s positive and negative social aspects, and it’s pretty entertaining, to boot.

Thanks for reading!

*Not Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico can ram it.

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2 thoughts on “El Regreso

  1. Looks pretty alright! It did seem quite a bit like Garden State (not that that’s a bad thing), but I think people have just come to associate that with a “light-hearted, indie dramedy with cute, quirky people where at least one person rides a moped/50cc Honda at some point”. It does LOOK pretty nice, though, considering people here don’t generally think Costa Rica has much in the way of filmmakers and filmmaking technology.
    Also, did I ever tell you the story about the fight I got into at the Pavilions on 16th street mall because people were talking during the whole first 30 minutes of the movie? There’s no dealing with those assholes, because if they’re doing something like that, then they feel like it’s well within their rights to be doing so. Unfortunately, it’s not just something that plagues Coast Tasty.

  2. Hey Paul!

    Yep, this one’s even got a crappy, quirky car. And you’re right, the production values are pretty good, and I forgot it was Costa Rican a few times.

    I think you did tell me about your movie theater experience with people who wouldn’t shut up, and it reminded me of this:

    http://theoatmeal.com/story/water_buffalo

    Thanks for commenting, and have a good one!

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