Films about the Indigenous People of Perú
during the years of the Shining Path

El sendero luminoso, or the Shining Path, was a communist group led by Abimael Guzmán, a philosophy professor at the University of Ayacucho who was influenced by the Chinese leader Mao Zedong. Joining the university in 1962, Guzmán led weekly political discussion groups with students, many of whom came from very poor campesino families. By the late sixties the discussion group had evolved into the Communist Party of Peru, and by the 1970s Guzmán had turned the group into a guerrilla army, and declared his willingness to sacrifice a million lives to his revolution. Under the nom de guerre Presidente Gonzalo, Guzmán and his army began their guerra popular (People's War) in Ayacucho in 1980, recruiting campesinos in the countryside through intimidation and violence. They siezed control of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, and Apurimac, declaring it "tierra liberada," and soon extended across most of the central Andes. In the mid-eighties Guzmán turned his focus to Lima, directing bombings and assassinations in the heavily populated capital where so many campesino families had fled. In 1992, President Alberto Fujimori declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution. Operating under martial law, the military captured Guzmán and other leaders later that year, and they were given life sentences. Guzmán then negotiated a peace treaty, effectively ending the Shining Path's reign of terror. This period, 1980-1992, is sometimes referred to as Peru's Civil War or Internal War. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed in 2001, which determined that over 69,000 Peruvians were killed or disappeared during the Civil War from 1980 to 2000. The Commission estimated that the Shining Path was responsible for about half of the deaths and disappearances, and the Peruvian military was responsible for about one third. The remaining were killed by other guerrilla groups and local militias. About 75% of all victims were Quechua-speaking people.

= Lame, Crummy.     = OK, Watchable.     = Good.     = Very Good.     = Great, Classic.

(The Wolf's Mouth)
Director:Francisco J. Lombardi
Writers: Augusto Cabada, Gonzalo Herrero, Giovanna Pollarolo
Cinematography:José Luis López-Linares
Music:Bernardo Bonezzi
Year/length:1988. 128 minutes.
Setting:Chuspi (village near Cusco)
Language:Spanish, some Quechua
Indian Content:medium
Released On:DVD (in Peru only), VHS
Rating: lousy ok good very good

El Sendero Luminoso has visited the Indian village of Chuspi in the Department of Cusco, leaving behind their flag and threatening graffiti. The Peruvian army is sent in to apprehend the Senderistas (we never see them on screen) or its sympathizers. One of the soldiers rapes a girl in the village, and when she reports him to the lieutenant, the lieutenant covers up the incident. When the same soldier tries to crash a village party and is thrown out, the lieutentant once again feels he has to cover up for him, leading to a series of events that culminates in horrors. A terrifying cautionary tale of the machismo that turns armies into marauders as evil as the enemy they were sent to defeat. The official English title is "The Lion's Den," though the original Spanish title means "The Wolf's Mouth."

Sinopsis en español:
La historia tiene lugar en Chuspi, un pequeño pueblo de la "zona de emergencia" asolado por el movimiento Sendero Luminoso. Un grupo del ejército, bajo el mando de un oficial violento y arbitrario, debe aniquilar el terrorismo a cualquier precio. Una visión acerca de la lucha antisubversiva y sus excesos. Un estudio de lo que el hombre es capaz de hacer cuando se siente aislado en un clima de violencia, hostigado por la soledad y la muerte.

(The Pink House)

Director:Palito Ortega Matute
Writer:Palito Ortega Matute
Cinematography:Jorge Cerna
Music:Jorge Luís Cárdenas Sotolongo
Year/length:2016. 102 minutes.
Setting:Ayacucho, 1980s.
Language:Spanish, some Quechua
Indian Content:low
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Adrián (José Luis Adrianzen), a university professor in Ayacucho, is suspected of terrorist activity solely on the basis of his professorship (Abimael Guzmán, leader of the Sendero Luminoso, was also a professor in Ayacucho). Adrián is taken to the Casa Rosada where he is tortured along with other suspects. His two young children, Juan de Dios (Ricardo Bromley López) and María del Carmen (Shantall Lozano Rodríguez), are left to fend for themselves, since their mother died some years ago. The scenes of torture at the Pink House are gratuitously gruesome, perhaps a sign of the writer-director's beginnings in the nuevo cine andino, which is characterized by exploitative violence. However, Palito Ortega Matute has grown artistically in all other aspects, having created here one of the best and most moving films on the Shining Path. The only character who speaks Quechua is the unnamed artesano who makes retablos (wooden sculptures inside a cupboard, Ayacucho's most famous craft), played by Segundino Huamancusi.

Sinopsis en español:
La película cuenta la historia de una familia que sobrevivió a la guerra interna que azotó nuestro país en los años 80. Adrián (52) y sus menores hijos, Juan de Dios (9) y María del Carmen (8) se encuentran en medio de dos fuegos, tratan de huir de su pueblo para protegerse, pero el padre es desaparecido y conducido a un lugar clandestino denominado "La casa rosada", que es utilizado por los miembros de servicio de inteligencia de las FF.AA, ahí Adrián es cruelmente torturado, obligado a aceptar su vinculación con un grupo terrorista. El caos y la confusión propias de la guerra pondrán a prueba la fortaleza de la familia, sobre todo de los niños que intentaran sobrevivir para encontrar a su padre desaparecido.

Director:John Malkovich
Writer:Nicholas Shakespeare
Cinematography:José Luis Alcaine
Music:Alberto Iglesias
Year/length:2002. 132 minutes. Rated R.
Setting:Peru, 1980s
Language:English, some Quechua & Spanish
Indian Content:low
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good

A big-budget U.S. production with A-list actors Javier Bardem and Juan Diego Botto, The Dancer Upstairs puts a police-story/love-story spin on the terrorist reign of The Shining Path. Based on the novel by English author Nicholas Shakespeare, the film doesn't mention The Shining Path or even Peru by name, but it is closely based on the real events, the major fictional departure being a love interest between the detective (Bardem) and the woman harboring the leader of the terrorist group. Bardem's character is part Indian and speaks Quechua, and Indigenous actors speaking Quechua are used for some minor roles. It's a fine film, complex and subtle, but too Hollywoodish and North American in its references, actors, and soundtrack. U.S. audiences could have handled a more authentically Latin American ambience, as they did with John Sayles' Men with Guns (set in Guatemala.) The most serious flaw in the film is that all the Indian characters are portrayed as absolutely devoted to the Shining Path. One character says of their leader, "He is the wind in every tree". The children in La vida es una sola (below) are required to recite such pieties, but in The Dancer Upstairs the Indians do so willingly, even fervently. We never see the Shining Path's horrifying recruiting practices. Even when the detective travels to his home town, an Indigenous village where his father once owned a coffee farm, we see no trace of dissidence, only militant revolutionaries. The film fails to portray the Indians as humans except for the mestizo detective played by a high-profile Spanish actor.

Sinopsis en español:
El agente de policía Agustín Rejas recibe el encargo de capturar al famoso líder guerrillero Ezequiel, principal impulsor de una revolución campesina que amenaza con llegar a las ciudades y provocar la caída del gobierno.

(God Delays But Doesn't Forget)
Director/writer/ cinematographer:Palito Orgeta Matute
Music:Dante Cordova Llanos
Year/length:1996. 107 minutes.
Setting:Patara, Apurimac & Huamanga, Ayacucho
Language:Spanish, Quechua
Indian Content:high
Released On:DVD (Peru)
Rating: lousy ok

A group of Shining Path guerrilleros invade Patara, a community in Apurimac, and kill the father of the boy Cirilo (played by Edwin Béjar Ochante). His mother sends him to Huamanga to live with his aunt. But the aunt's husband is an abusive drunk, and Cirilo ends up living on the street. He tries to make a living shining shoes and selling candy, and he befriends another boy, Pepito (played by his brother, Nelson Bejar Ochante). Pepito finds a job doing bad things for adults and moves to Lima, leaving Cirilo a bag of food and a note. After more hard luck in Huamanga, Cirilo takes a bus to Lima to find his friend. Ultra-low-budget film with non-actors. Followed by a sequel, Dios tarda pero no olvida 2, in 1999.

Sinopsis en español:
Una columna de senderistas incursiona en la comunidad campesina de Patara y asesina a los padres de pequeño Cirilo, quien tiene que huir a la ciudad de Huamanga y refugiarse en casa de unos tíos. Cansado de los maltratos y abusos que recibe, intenta viajar a Lima para escapar de la miseria y la adversidad.

Don Melcho

(Sir Melcho: Friend or Enemy)
Director/writer:Arnaldo Soriano Vásquez
Cinematography:Julio Urruchi Breña
Year/length:2009. 91 minutes.
Setting:Huancavelica, 1980s
Indian Content:high
Released On:DVD (Peru); also on Youtube

Based on the life of the controversial Don Melcho, a Robin Hood-type figure who gained notoreity in the 1980s by bribing and corrupting officials and giving money to the poor. He was semi-illiterate, and some say a delinquent, killer, and rapist. He was finally captured and killed by a paramilitary group. A shorter version of this movie is available on Youtube (in Spanish, no subtitles):
Review (in Spanish):

Sinopsis en español:
Don Melcho, amigo o enemigo, es la historia de un campesino semi analfabeto que vivió en la década de 1980 en los pueblos de Huancavelica. Delincuente, asesino, violador y abigeo, se hizo compadre de congresistas, jueces y policías para burlar a la ley. Con dádivas corrompió y satirizó al Poder Judicial de su tiempo. Encabezó las reivindicaciones de su pueblo Chopja, regalando dinero a unos pueblos y robando a otros. En suma: querido por unos y odiado por otros, fue perseguido por la justicia y por un grupo paramilitar. A la muerte de Melcho, casi todo el pueblo lloró por él. Elenco: Pánfilo Quispe, Ramón Ticllacuri, Alfredo Dueñas, Juan Quispe, Angel Alarcón, Ubaldina Ledesma, Julio Sáenz.

(With Neither God nor the Devil)
Director/writer/ cinematographer:Nilo Pereira del Mar
Music:Raúl Pereira del Mar
Year/length:1989. 90 minutes.
Setting:Pachacayo (village in Junín) & Lima
Language:Spanish, some Quechua
Indian Content:high
Released On:DVD (no subtitles)
Rating: lousy ok good

Jeremías Ayunque (played by Marino Leon, who starred in Gregorio and its sequel Anda, Corre, Vuela,), is a 16-year old alpaca herder in Pampamayo, a village in Junín, Ayacucho. One day he finds that an alpaca as delivered a two-headed calf. The village shaman interprets the omen to mean that God and the Devil have made a pact against Jeremias. When Shining Path terrorists come to the village, it looks as if the omen may come true, and Jeremias flees his mountain home, heading for Lima. On the way he finds a job as a stone-cutter in the frozen mountains, which he can only endure for one day. Once he arrives in Lima, he seeks the help of his godfather to get a job as a construction site security guard. One night he is mugged, and when he returns to work he finds that the site has been burglarized and he loses his job. Finally, Jeremias finds a job as a butler at a wealthy police chief's home. But here he learns that he is wanted as a narcoterrorist for his presumed assocation with the Shining Path--the people who drove him to Lima in the first place! As the title suggests, Ni con Dios ni con el diablo is a pessimistic film (an unfortunate trend in Latin American movies of the 70s, 80s, and 90s). Occasional comic relief comes with his stint as a butler, when he learns how to use a telephone and tries champagne for the first time.

The Shining Path only play a brief role on the screen, but the the film effectively shows the fate of thousands of campesinos who were driven from the countryside by the group's violence and swelled Lima's urban sprawl to its limits. Like Antuca and Gregorio (see below), it is an epic of the Indian arriving in the Big City. Unlike many other films on the Shining Path, however, Ni con Dios does show some of the more positive side of the socialist efforts of the time. The friends who help him get to Lima, for instance, are pamphleteers supporting unions.

Sinopsis en español:
Jeremías, joven pastor de una comunidad andina, escucha el presagio siniestro del brujo de la comunidad. Poco después una unidad de Sendero Luminoso llega a la comunidad y asesina a las autoridades. Los senderistas le asignan a Jeremías unas funciones que no cumplirá. Al llegar el ejército tiene que huir. Parte hacia Lima en busca de su padrino, desempeña varios trabajos pero tiene que huir constantemente perseguido por la policía. Poco a poco se da cuenta que el presagio se cumple y que Lima es una ciudad maldita.

(Paper Dove)
Director:Fabrizio Aguilar
Writers:Fabrizio Aguilar, Gianfranco Annichini
Cinematography:Micaela Cajahuaringa
Music:Irene Vivanco
Year/length:2003. 90 minutes.
Setting:Andean village, 1980s
Indian Content:high
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good

A village in the Andes is terrorized by El Sendero Luminoso. Three children are kidnapped and forced to proclaim their allegiance to El Sendero. This film tells a very similar story to that of La vida es una sola, but with higher production values, more like a mainstream Hollywood movie. The tale is told through the reminiscences of a man who has spent 20 years in prison for his involvement with the Sendero, even though he was only eleven when they forcibly recruited him. Many viewers will prefer this film to La vida es una sola, though I prefer Marianne Eyde's earlier, grittier effort.

Sinopsis en español:
Juan, un niño de once años, vive una infancia pobre pero tranquila al lado de sus amigos Pacho y Rosita. La paz se termina cuando su padre es asesinado y el muchacho descubre que Fermín, su padrastro, está implicado en el crimen. Fermín entrega a Juan a los terroristas para garantizar su silencio. Así empieza la tragedia de un niño que, como tantos otros, tiene su infancia robada y es obligado a integrar las huestes terroristas. Entrenado para matar sin piedad, Juan no se acostumbra a su nueva condición y huye, ya joven, a su pueblo para alertar sobre la llegada de los asesinos. Nadie le cree.

(The Latest News)

Director:Alejandro Legaspi
Writers:Alejandro Legaspi
René Weber
Music:Pauchi Sasaki
Cinematography:Mario Bassino
Year/length:2016. 100 minutes.
Setting:Ayacucho, early 1980s
Indian Content:medium
Rating: lousy ok good

Alonso, the host of a folk music radio show, finds himself drawn to journalism as the Sendero Luminoso increases their terrorist activity in Ayacucho. He changes the format of his show to news, but he quickly becomes the target of the Sendero, receiving threats for reporting on their activity. His friend, a university professor with communist leanings, is also caught up in the terror, and watches as one of his students is drawn to the Sendero. It's a good movie, but feels a little redundant after so many other films on the topic, especially since it was released around the same time as La Casa Rosada, which also concerns a university professor accused of terrorism.

Sinopsis en español:
La Última Noticia cuenta la historia de Alonso Vargas, un joven que dirige un programa radial de música folklórica en una pequeña ciudad. Su vida transcurre apaciblemente al lado de su esposa, su pequeña hija y sus dos amigos entrañables. Pedro, su cuñado y maestro de escuela, y José, dueño de un bar-recreo. A raíz de la violencia que se apodera de la región de Ayacucho durante los años ochenta, las vidas y las relaciones de los personajes serán puestas a prueba.

(You Only Live Once)
Director:Marianne Eyde
Writers:Alonso Alegría, Marianne Eyde
Cinematography:César Pérez
Music:Esteban Ttupa, Comunidad de Casiri, Ccachín
Year/length:1992. 85 minutes.
Setting:Rayopampa (fictional Andean village), 1983
Language:Spanish; some Quechua
Indian Content:high
Released On:Cineaparte.com
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Three college students visit the mountain village of Rayopampa during a carnival. They partake of the festivities, and a local girl, Florinda, falls in love with Marcelino, one of the visitors. As visitors begin talking about organizing the community, the villagers realize that these are members of the Sendero Luminoso sent to recuit them. The community leaders debate about whether to report the visitors to the local authorities--the defense civil, but before they can settle the issue, defensa civil arrives, sniffing out trouble. They demand food and then go away. The next day, Teodisio, the community president, receives a death threat for feeding the authorities, the oppressors, and they find a communist flag and graffiti. Teodosio goes to the authorities downhill, who rudely deny assistance and tell Teodosio he should be willing to sacrifice his life for his country. The next day, Teodosio's body is found with a sign labelling him a soplón (whistle-blower), and another threat that anyone who buries him will also die. When the Sendero Luminoso returns, they recruit several villagers, including children, into their army, and a clash between the Senderistas and the Defensa Civil breaks out. Of all the films on the Shining Path, La vida es una sola is the most harrowing, showing how both the terrorists and the government claimed the campesinos as their own, but were equally cruel in disregarding their lives and safety. Yet it is also beautiful at times, with its lovely folk tunes and occasionally poetic dialogue.

Available on cineaparte.com/p/153/la-vida-es-una-sola in some countries.

Director Marianne Eyde was born in Norway and moved to Peru in the 70s and founded Kusi Films. She filmed this movie--her third--in the community of Ccachín in Calca Province, Cusco, and used local, non-professional actors for most of the parts as well as the music. Thus the scenery, costumes, rituals, and festivities are all very authentic (although the people of Ccachín probably speak more Quechua than they do in the film). Cinematographer César Pérez also worked with Jorge Sanjines, and through constant, circular movement he gives this film that same newsreel feeling of urgency and inevitability that animates Sanjines' work.

Florinda - Milagros del Carpio
Marcelino - Jiliat Zambrano
El Tigre (defensa civil) - Aristoteles Picho
Meche (senderista) - Rosa Maria Olortegui

Sinopsis en español:
Historia de amor que se desarrolla en medio de las contradicciones entre la comunidad índigena, el terrorismo y las fuerzas del orden. La comunidad campesina vive entre dos fuegos, Sendero Luminoso y las fuerzas militares de la zona. A partir de una oposición dramática muy nítida, Eyde narra con sobriedad y justeza, dirige con acierto a los actores, valoriza el espacio andino en una cámara en permanente movimiento y ofrece un valioso testimonio de la violencia en los años de guerra interna en Perú.

  The Grupo Chaski Trilogy
Gregorio DVD

Directors/writers:Grupo Chaski
Cinematography:Alejandro Legaspi
Music:Arturo Ruiz del Pozo
Year/length:1984. 85 minutes.
Setting:Andean village & Lima
Language:Spanish, some Quechua
Indian Content:medium
Released On:Vimeo
Rating: lousy ok good

An Andean family moves from their ancestral mountain village to Lima in order to find work, and they experience a culture shock at the noise, confusion, and inhuman sprawl of the city. When the father dies, 12-year-old Gregorio (Marino León de la Torre) must work as a lustrabotas (shoeshiner), making a long daily trek from the shantytown slums to the city center. Working on the streets, he befriends a gang of street punks and is lured into a life of petty crime. The film begins in Quechua and switches abruptly to Spanish upon arrival in the metropolis, and the story is occasionally interspersed with scenes of a slightly older Gregorio facing the camera and telling what he has learned from his experiences. Thus the film has a documentary feel to it, which the filmmakers gradually move away from in the next two films in the series, Juliana and Anda, Corre, Vuela.
Available on Vimeo: vimeopro.com/grupochaski/produccion-cinematografica-del-grupoc-chaski/video/92046986 (no subtitles for the Spanish dialogue, only for Quechua)

Sinopsis en español:
Gregorio, un niño de doce años, es el hijo mayor de una familia tradicional campesina que se ve obligada a emigrar a la capital. Tras la muerte de su padre se verá obligado a integrar una banda de niños de la calle que cometen hurtos y ocasionalmente se involucran en el negocio de la droga, tras ser arrestados, Gregorio huye con el botín que le ofrece a su madre para reconciliarse, pero esta lo rechaza. Gregorio tendrá entonces que replanteare toda su vida.

Directors:Fernando Espinoza, Alejandro Legaspi
Writer:Rene Weber
Cinematography:Danny Gavidia
Music:Jose Barcenas
Year/length:1988. 85 minutes.
Indian Content:medium-low
Released On:Vimeo
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Juliana (played by Rosa Isabel Morffino) is a 13-year-old girl who sells flowers at the cemetery. Envying the more freewheeling life of her little brother, she abandons her mother and stepfather and disguises herself as a boy to join her little brother's street gang, led by the creepy Don Pedro and his sidekick Cobra. They sell cigarettes, perform on buses, whatever brings in a little money to hand over to Don Pedro for the privilege of living in his hideout. Juliana shows hardly any trace of Indian culture, as these slum kids are disconnected from their ancestral inheritance by the forces of poverty and neglect. Although the two films are not related, the main characters of Juliana and Gregorio come together in the film Anda, Corre, Vuela. The film won awards in Berlin, Biarritz, and Huelva, Spain.
Available on Vimeo: vimeopro.com/grupochaski/produccion-cinematografica-del-grupoc-chaski/video/55637708 (no subtitles)

Sinopsis en español:
Juliana es una niña que vive de la venta de flores robadas del cementerio. Su hermano canta en los autobuses por dinero que entrega a un hombre que explota a niños a cambio de ofrecerles casa y comida. Juliana quiere entrar al grupo pero su sexo se lo impide, para lograrlo se disfraza de hombre. Una vez que entra en el grupo su vida es errante y desarraigada recorre Lima viviendo de pequeños hurtos.

(Go, Run, Fly)
Director:Augusto Tamayo San Román
Writer:José Watanabe
Cinematography:Danny Gavidia
Music:Herman Condori
Year/length:1994. 90 minutes.
Indian Content:low
Released On:Vimeo
Rating: lousy ok good

Gregorio and Juliana, now 19 and 21, are young adults faced with the meager opportunities available to people in Lima in the 1990s, when the armed forces and the communist terrorist group El Sendero Luminoso ripped the country apart in civil war. With humor and creativity Gregorio and Juliana learn to survive in this violent world. The rock soundtrack and action-movie-style editing are quite a stretch from the quasi-documentary style of Gregorio, thereby creating a sense of completion to the trilogy, which traces the path of Indian integration into mainstream society, for better or for worse.
Available on Vimeo: vimeopro.com/grupochaski/produccion-cinematografica-del-grupoc-chaski/video/55637708 (no subtitles)

Sinopsis en español:
Historia de amor de dos jóvenes marginales en tiempos de crisis y violencia. Sus destinos empiezan a entrelazarse, a pesar de sus diferentes aspiraciones y acomplicarse dada la creciente tensión social por la lucha armada que sostienen las Fuerzas Armadas con el grupo terrorista Sendero Luminoso.

  Footnote: The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement was formed in 1980 by Víctor Polay Campos, culling members from the Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Socialist Party and the militant faction of the Revolutionary Left Movement. The MRTA had several hundred members, but was only a fraction of the size of the Sendero Luminoso. The MRTA differed from the Sendero in several ways: they were less clandestine, wearing uniforms and claiming responsibility for their actions, wore uniforms. They generally refrained from attacking unarmed civilians, and were more open to negotiations. This more humane side of the organization may be regarded in Bel Canto as the cause of their downfall.

Director:Paul Weitz
Writers:Paul Weitz
Anthony Weintraub
Ann Patchet (novel)
Cinematography:Tobias Datum
Music:David Majzlin
Setting:unnamed Latin American country
Language:English; Spanish; some Japanese and French
Indian Content:low
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok

Neither the film nor Ann Patchet's novel names the Spanish-speaking country where the story takes place, but the Japanese president (named Mesuda), the terrorist group, and the garúa (a very fine drizzle unique to Lima) would make the setting easily identifiable as Peru in the 80s or 90s, even if the story were not based on an actual siege in 1996. A terrorist group attacks the vice-president's house, hoping to kidnap the president, who stayed home to watch his telenovela instead of keeping his appointment with the Japanese industrialist and famous opera singer (played by Julianne Moore). Their plans foiled, the terrorists hold everyone hostage for several days while they wait for the government to meet their demands for a release of all political prisoners. During the week or so, the terrorists and hostages get to know each other. Some teach each other languages, or chess, or singing, and some fall in love. It all happens gradually in the beautiful prose of Patchet's novel, but the accelerated pace of the film robs the changing relationships of all believability. Surely an attempt to capture the president would have been carried out by the best-trained and most trustworthy soldiers, but in this film they are trusting, hesistant, and sometimes downright incompetent or traitorous to their own cause, which chips away at the credibility of the movie.

And then there's the inauthemticity of basing a film on a historical Peruvian event, but getting so much wrong. One of the terrorists, played by Guatemalan actress María Mercedes Coroy, speaks what seems to be an indigenous language, but it isn't Quechua or Aymara--it's probably the Kaqchikel she spoke Ixcanul. The commanders of the siege are played by Mexican actors Tenoch Huerta La Carga, El Encanto del Aguila), and Noé Hernández La Tirisia, Tiempo de Lluvia). There is also brief shot of a pyramid which is like no known pyramid in Peru.

The siege that inspired the novel actually took place at the home of the Japanese ambassador to Peru from December 17, 1996 to April 22, 1997 (often mistakenly described as taking place at the embassy itself). Fourteen members of the MRTA blasted through a wall of the residence during a birthday party for the embassador and held them hostage for 126 days. The foreign women were released the first night, and most other foreigners in the next few days, and towards the end only 72 men remained hostage. The military counter-attack was known as Operación Chavín de Huántar, alluding to the archaeological site of one of the oldest and most influential cultures of ancient Peru (perhaps in response to the terrorists' use of the Inka name Túpac Amaru). On April 22, a team of 140 soldiers burst into the house, and all 14 MRTA guerrillas were killed. One of the hostages and two soldiers also died in the rescue mission. Although the military victory was initially popular with Peruvians, objections were later raised about the extrajudicial slaying of some of the guerrillas who had surrendered, and the torture used on others. Families of some of the guerrillas cited anonymous burials and lack of autopsies in their complaints. In 2007 a classified U.S. cable revealed that Fujimori ordered that all guerrillas be killed. The youngest guerrilla, 17-year-old Herma Luz Meléndez, was probably the inspiration for the character of Carmen played by María Mercedes Coroy.

The Italian term bel canto refers to a vocal style popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In 2015 an opera based on Patchet's novel premiered, by Peruvian composer Jimmy López and Cuban-American librettist Nilo Cruz.

Sinopsis en español:
Roxane Coss (Moore), una famosa soprano estadounidense, viaja a Sudamérica para dar un concierto privado en la fiesta de cumpleaños del rico empresario industrial japonés, Katsumi Hosokawa (Watanabe). La fiesta es, también, una reunión de dignatarios locales, que se reúnen en la mansión del vicepresidente peruano Rubén Ochoa; incluidos el embajador francés Thibault (Lambert) y su esposa (Zylberstein), el fiel traductor de Hosokawa Gen (Kase) y el delegado comercial ruso Fyorodov (Krupa). Sin embargo, la casa es tomada por guerrilleros miembros del grupo terrorista "Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru" (MRTA), dirigidas por el Comandante Benjamín (Huerta) exigiendo la liberación de sus compañeros encarcelados. El único contacto con el mundo exterior se hace a través del negociador del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja, Messner (Koch). Se produce un enfrentamiento de un mes de duración en el que los rehenes y los captores deben superar sus diferencias y encontrar su humanidad y esperanza compartidas frente a un desastre inminente.

  Not Yet Reviewed:
I haven't seen most of these films. Some of them may not have much indigneous content.

Alias la gringa (Alberto Durant, 1986)
When a notorious criminal ends up in jail he meets several Senderistas.
Ashaninka (José María "Chema" Salcedo, 2007)
Docu-drama about the Sendero Luminoso's invasion of Ashaninka lands in the Amazon.
Av. Larco (Jorge Carmona del Solar, 2017)
In the 1980s and 90s, a group of white kids form a band in Lima, but terrorist activity takes them out of their bubble.
[A fines de los años 80, un grupo de jóvenes limeños compiten para ser la mejor nueva banda de rock peruano. La competencia los forzará a salir de su burbuja privilegiada, conocer la otra cara de su ciudad y enfrentarse a los problemas de un país en conflicto. Los himnos del rock peruano los acompañarán en este viaje a la adultez, en el que vivirán romances y aventuras, y la música será el mejor antídoto para no perder la esperanza. Durante la película suenan canciones de rock peruano de los años 80 y 90. Está basada en la obra teatral musical del mismo nombre.
Coraje (Alberto Durant, 1998)
Biopic of Maria Teresa Moyano (1958-1992), defender of Lima's shantytown residents, who was murdered by El Sendero Luminoso.
Flor de Retama (Martin Landeo, 2004)
An hacienda owner is visiting Lima when he learns he must return to Ayacucho to defend his land.
Gritos de libertad (Luis Berrocal, 2003)
This film focuses on the rondas campesinas, or self-defence groups that fought off the Shining Path.
La hora final (Eduardo Mendoza de Echave, 2017)
Like The Dancer Upstairs, this film focuses on the capture of Abimael Guzmán, but it was made in Perú.
La lengua de los zorros (Federico Garcia Hurtado, 1992)
A mountain-climber from Lima travels to Callejón de Huaylas unaware of the terrorist danger.
Mártires del periodismo: Caso Uchuraccay (Luis Berrocal, 2003)
Dramatization of the deaths of seven journalists in Uchuraccay.
Matar para vivir (Edgar Ticona Mamani, 2013)
Rincon de los inocentes (Palito Ortega Matute, 2004)
A man in Ayacucho seeks justice for his son killed by the military, and the Shining Path exploits his anger.
Tarata (Fabrizio Aguilar, 2009)
The Sendero bombs a street in Miraflores, a wealthy neighborhood of Lima.
La trinchera luminosa del Presidende Gonzalo (Jim Finn, 2007, USA)
Focuses on the prisoners of Canto Grande, a women's prison.
Vidas paralelas (Rocío Lladó, 2008)
Presented from the point of view of a soldier whose father was killed by the Sendero.

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