Films about the Indigenous People
of Modern Perú

Paloma de Papel Kay Pacha
Altiplano Juliana

El perro del hortelano; Kay Pacha; Altiplano; Juliana

This Page:
Contemporary Settings
(1980s to the present)
Previous Page:
Historical Settings
(1500s to 1980s)

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

  1980s: The Shining Path / El Sendero Luminoso

(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.

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.

(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:VHS
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.

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.

Not yet reviewed. Some of these 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.
La Casa rosada (Palito Ortega Matute, 2009)
In Ayacucho a professor is imprisoned and interrogated for terrorism, leaving his children to fend for themselves.
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 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.
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.
La ultima noticia (Alejandro Legaspi, 2015)
A radio host in a small town in Ayacucho is held hostage by the terrorists. A Grupo Chaski production.
Vidas paralelas (Rocío Lladó, 2008)
Presented from the point of view of a soldier whose father was killed by the Sendero.

  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.

  1990s to the Present

Directors/writers: Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth
Cinematography:Francisco Gózon
Music:Michel Schöpping
Year/length: 2009. 109 minutes.
Setting:Turubamba (a village near the border with Ecuador)
Language: Quechua & Spanish; some French, English & Farsi
Indian Content:medium-high
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good excellent

War photographer Grace, devastated by a violent incident in Iraq, renounces her profession. Her Belgian husband, Max, is a cataract surgeon working at an eye clinic in the Peruvian altiplano. Nearby, the villagers of Turubamba succumb to illnesses caused by a mercury spill from industrial mining. Saturnina (played by Magaly Solier), a young woman in Turubamba, loses her fiancé to the contamination. The villagers turn their rage on the foreign doctors, and in the ensuing riot Max is killed. Saturnina takes drastic measures to protest against the violations towards her people and their land. When Grace travels to Turubamba to see the place where her husband was killed, she comes across the Indians protesting against the miners, and the two widows meet. A strange bond is forged between these two women from different continents. Altiplano is a lyrical, provocative film full of beauty, wonder and symbolism, boldly fusing art and politics to raise our awareness of how all our actions are linked in this seemingly divided world. A masterpiece. Co-director Peter Brosens has made documentaries on Andean communities in Peru and Ecuador and has studied the phenomenon of protest suicide.

Official site: www.altiplano.info

Sinopsis en español:
La fotógrafa de guerra Grace, devastada por un violento incidente en Irak, renuncia a su profesión. Su marido belga Max es cirujano de cataratas en una clínica ocular en el altiplano peruano. Los habitantes del pueblo cercano Turubamba sucumben a las enfermedades causadas por un derrame de mercurio de la mina local. Saturnina, una joven mujer de Turubamba pierde a su marido a consecuencia de la contaminación. Los habitantes del pueblo descargan su rabia contra los médicos extranjeros y Max muere durante los disturbios. Saturnina toma medidas drásticas para protestar contra las interminables afrentas que sufren su gente y su tierra. Grace parte en viaje de duelo al lugar de la muerte de Max. Altiplano es una película sensible y sagaz sobre nuestro mundo dividido pero inextricablemente interconectado.

Director/writer:Maria Barea
Cinematography:Cesar Perez, Horacio Faudella
Music:Chalena Vasquez
Year/length:1992. 75 minutes.
Setting:Lima and village near Cajamarca, 1970s-80s
Language:Spanish; some singing in Quechua
Indian Content:medium-high
Released On:VHS (no subtitles)
Rating: lousy ok good

Antuca (played by Graciela Huaywa Collanqui) is a maid in Lima who has joined a support group of fellow maids. Antuca and a companera take a bus trip to revisit her home, a village in the hills outside Cajamarca, and through a series of flashbacks we learn of Antuca's life: when she was little her widowed mother sent her away to help her godmother, who placed her as a housemaid in Lima. She was not allowed to go to school and received no salary. When her employer's son tried to rape her, she escaped and found a series of other humiliating jobs. Finally, Antuca found a sympathetic employer who helped her with her education. Returning to her village ten years later, she rediscovers her traditional culture. We see see parades, dancing, ceremonial dress, weaving, shepherding, and making music. But this traditional life also demands work, lots of it. She reunites with an old flame, Artemio, but in the end in the end Antuca returns with her friend to Lima, where her women's group is building a cooperative community in the sand with woven straw houses that look like a shanty town--a highly ambiguous ending.

Antuca was originally conceived as a documentary showing the harsh working conditions of maids. Women from the group Trabajadoras del Hogar participated in the film as actors and writers. It was never released theatrically but was used for educational purposes. It's no blockbuster, but the film effectively juxtaposes alluring scenes of Andean folkways with the call for progressive action, and a profoundly sad suggestion that you can never really go home again. There is also some great music, ranging from stridently authentic Quechua songs to catchy Andean folk-rock, and some nice scenery--look for a glimpse of the famous ventanillas, ancient niches carved in the mountainside by a forgotten Cajamarca people. Director Maria Barea was one of the founders of Grupo Chaski and the producer of Perros Hambrientos and Yawar Fiesta. She makes a cameo as one of Antuca's bosses. More info on Maria Barea can be found at www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/makers/fm456.shtml

Sinopsis en español:
Antuca, una joven nacida en una comunidad quechua de Cajamarca, regresa a su pueblo para asistir a una fiesta patronal. Ha pasado diez años fuera de comunidad, desde que su madrina la embarcó hacia Lima con el fin de separarla de Artemio, el campesino que la amaba. En Lima se empleó como doméstica en la casa de "el coronel" pero huyó de la casa luego de sufrir un intento de violación. Despues de servir en diversas casas y conocer muchas humillaciones, regresa a su pueblo en busca de sus raíces, un otro mundo donde la llaman "Señorita Antuca." Al reencontrarse con Artemio, descubre que él es ahora diregente de su comunidad. A su regreso a Lima Antuca decide continuar su trabajo y construye su casa en el arenal.

Director:Josué Méndez
Writers:Josué Méndez, Bárbara Acosta, Tony Bonicelli
Cinematography:Mario Bassino
Music:Leonardo Barbuy
Year/length:2008. 90 minutes.
Setting: Asia (coastal resort town 60 miles south of Lima)
Language:Spanish; some Quechua
Indian Content:medium-low
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Agustín is a wealthy factory owner with two spoiled blond teenagers and a brand-new trophy girlfriend, Elisa (Maricielo Effio). Elisa struggles to read up on topics of interest to Agustín's friends' wives, and tries to make herself sophisticated, a goal which includes keeping her indigenous background a secret. She has a dream that her mother and grandmother show up at her new home in their humble campesina clothing and she pretends to Agustín that they are the new maids. Elisa does eventually visit her family, and she seems much more relaxed in their humble apartment, and yet she still must tell them they can't come to the wedding. When Agustín's daughter becomes pregnant, he makes both the daughter and Elisa leave the country for several months so that they can pretend it is Elisa's child. Dioses is a mordant satire of the rich, and there is much more to this fine film which I won't go into. The ethnic dimension is just a small but crucial part of it. Magaly Solier (Madeinusa, La Teta Asustada, Altiplano) has a brief role as one of the Quechua-speaking maids, who are the only likable people in the story.

Sinopsis en español:
Diego está enamorado de su hermana, Andrea, y enfrenta la culpa y los placeres que esto le provoca. Andrea, sin embargo, ocupa su tiempo en otras cosas: ella tiene sus propios secretos que esconder. Agustín, el padre de ambos, ha traido a casa a Elisa, su nueva novia, veinte años menor que él, y de una condición social y económica más humilde. Elisa tendrá que aprender rápido si se quiere convertir en la dama de sociedad que siempre quiso ser. Una familia atrapada en los rígidos mecanismos sociales de la clase alta peruana. Una crónica sobre la decadencia, la hipocresía y el conformismo en un medio frívolo y hermético, donde los personajes actúan como dioses, más allá de las reglas, más allá de la moral, y más allá de lo creíble.

(The Indian)
Director:Ineke Houtman
Writer:Nynke Klopmaker
Cinematography:Sander Snoep
Music:Melcher Meirmans
Year/length:2009. 75 minutes.
Language:Dutch, some Quechua
Indian Content:medium-high
Released On:not yet on DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good

Eight-year-old Koos (Matthias den Besten) lives in Netherlands with his adoptive parents. He knows he's from Peru, but doesn't know much else about Peru. One day at a flea market he sees a family of Andean musicians who look like him. They teach him about Peruvian culture and his Inka ancestors, and give him an Ekeko doll (Ekeko was the Tiwanakan god of prosperity, and the dolls, depicting a man loaded with gifts and money, are popular tourist souvenirs). The son Illari, a little older than Koos, introduces him to a slingshot and teaches him about courage: "Everything collaborates with you when you're not afraid." Koos wants to learn what his real Peruvian name was, so Illari's father consults the coca leaves and writes the name on a roll of leather and stuffs it in a wooden tube. Koos and Illari go to the lake and throw the tube in the water. Koos must dive for it to find his name, but he is afraid. One day Illari tells him that his family is moving back to Peru. Koos wants to go with them, but when he finds they have already left, he runs away, and rows out to the "Indian Island" in the lake. He dives for the wooden tube, and finds his name written inside: Yaku, the Quechua word for water. When his father finally finds him on the island, he explains that Koos is a variant of his own name, Iacobus, and that Yaku agrees nicely with Iacobus. Thus the boy learns to embrace his Peruvian culture and also accept his parents' love. This is a nearly-perfect children's movie, with none of the schmaltz or artificiality one often finds in such films. Matthias den Besten, who is of Guatemalan descent, deserves special praise for this large, demanding role.

Sinopsis en español:
Koos es un niño holandes de ocho años que vive feliz con sus padres y su abuelo. Koos odia el agua y ama las motocicletas. Un dia, de pronto, a la salida de un gran supermercado descubre a un grupo de indios andinos tocando música peruana. Koos intrigado y movido por una extraña fuerza se acerca a los indios y hablando con ellos descubrirá que él mismo es un indio. A partir de ese momento Koos se dedica a rastrear su propio pasado en busca de un nombre y unas raices que sus padres “adoptivos” le han ocultado. Gracias a su nuevo amigo indio, Illie comienza a soñar con convertirse en un verdadero indio y viajar a Perú, cueste lo que cueste.

Director/writer:Claudia Llosa
Cinematography:Raúl Pérez Ureta
Music:Selma Mutal
Year/length:2005. 103 minutes.
Setting:Manayaycuna (town in the Cordillera Blanca)
Language:Spanish; some songs in Quechua
Indian Content:medium-high
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good

In the small village of Manayaycuna, in the Cordillera Blanca region of Peru, Holy Week is celebrated as a kind of Saturnalia. They believe that from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, God is asleep and sees no sins, therefore nothing is a sin and everything is permitted. The mayor, Don Cayo, plans to devirginize his daughter on this "Tiempo Santo." Madeinusa (played by Magaly Solier) is only 14; her mother ran away to Lima for unexplained reasons, and her sister Chale (Yiliana Chong) is nearly as abusive as her father. Into this cauldron walks Salvador (Carlos J. de la Torre), a young geologist from Lima stopping over on his way to another town. He is arrested for no particular reason, and Madeinusa takes an interest in him, frees him from her father's barn, and arranges to have Salvador deflower her before her father can. Madeinusa is director Claudia Llosa's first film, and also Magalay Solier's first film. It has excellent acting and directing, and plenty of footage of indigenous customs--dancing, singing, religious processions, etc. Solier wrote two of the songs sung in the film. I do not know if there is a community that actually celebrates Holy Week in this way. It may be a custom invented by Llosa, like the potato-in-the-vagina custom in her second film, La Teta Asustada. The notes on the DVD package compare Madeinusa to a western, but it is really more in the gothic tradition: a stranger arrives at a strange town and meets a strange fate. More info and trailer at www.filmmovement.com

Sinopsis en español:
Madeinusa es una niña que vive en un pueblo perdido de la coordillera del Perú, Manayaycuna. Este extraño lugar se distingue por un aspecto en su religiosidad; a partir del Viernes Santo, a las tres de la tarde, cuando Cristo muere crucificado, hasta el Domingo de Resurección, el pueblo entero puede hacer lo que le venga en gana. Durante estos días santos no existe el pecado: Dios está muerto, no les ve. Todo es aceptado y permitido, sin remordimiento alguno. Madeinusa, su hermana Chale, y su padre, Don Cayo, alcalde y mandamás del pueblo, conservan esta tradición sin cuestionarla, pero todo esto se verá perturbado con la llegada de Salvador, un joven limeño que se ve obligado a permanecer en el pueblo los días del "Tiempo Santo", lapso en que Dios no ve.

Director:Mark Griffiths
Writer:Gordon Cassidy, Mark Griffiths
Cinematography:Blake T. Evans
Music:Arthur Kempel
Year/length:1995. 95 minutes.
Setting:Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu
Language:English; occasional Spanish & Quechua
Indian Content:low
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok

Max (Toran Caudell) is the snotty son of an American archaeologist; Juanito (Victor Rojas) is a savvy teen huckster who makes his living from tourists on the Inca Trail. The two boys find themselves pulled into a caper over a 15th-century gold huaca sought by two criminals. In the course of their caper Juanito learns that money isn't everything, and Max learns that, when you're poor, money is everything. Humor, action and plot twists make this Showtime production a fairly satisfying slice of family entertainment. Comparable to Postales below.

(Mi hija Shamporo)
Director/writer:Tita Portela
Cinematography:Fred Fuentes
Music:Laurent Dufreche
Year/length:2008. 52 minutes.
Setting:Valle Samaria & Rio Ene in the Amazon
Indian Content:high
Released On:none
Rating: lousy ok good

Elias, chief of an Ashaninka community in the jungle, returns to his native land to find a curandera who will teach his daughter her craft. Father and daughter travel by boat, plane, and car to reach the aged curandera who will then decide if Shamporo is ready to be a disciple. This film seems to be a fictionalized documentary: the story is real but it is recreated--like so-called reality TV but without that fake feeling. (For a similar technique, see the Mexican film Alamar.)
Official site: www.noshintoshamporo.com

Sinopsis en español:
Elías, jefe nativo asháninka (Selva Central Perú), decide volver a su tierra natal en busca de una curandera que instruya a su hija Shamporo en el conocimiento de las plantas y sus ritos. Emprenden un viaje por el río Ene, que les lleva a tierras más lejanas, siguiendo siempre la pista de la señora María, la mejor curandera-evaporadora que Elías conoce. Shamporo descubre los paisajes del río; viaja en bote, avioneta, carro... pasa por la ciudad; y, finalmente, llega hasta la casa de la señora María, quien escucha y reflexiona seriamente sobre la petición de su padre.

(The Sin)
Director/writer:Palito Ortega Matute
Cinematography:Marco Alvarado
Music:Edwin Yupanqui
Year/length:2007. 90 minutes.
Setting:Pampa Pira, a village in Ayacucho
Language:Spanish; some Quechua
Indian Content:medium

In Pampa Pira, an indigenous community in Ayacucho, Eduardo, a 12-year-old boy discovers his sexual inclinations as he begins trying on his sister's dresses and playing with her dolls. His brothers abuse him, but he cannot change, so he runs away. At 18, after spending years in Lima, Eduardo returns to Ayacucho, dressed as a woman, to reunite with his family. His father is happy to see him, but his brothers beat him again. Eventually Eduardo tries to make a living as a prostitute and faces further abuse. Based on a true story.
Trailer: youtube.com/watch?v=cTdct0gKbvE

Eduardo as a boy - Dany Cabezas
Eduardo as an adult - Charles Reategui
Father - Reynaldo Arenas
Mother - Gloria Quispe
Serafín (brother) - Gustavo Cerron

Sinopsis en español:
En una comunidad campesina de los andes del Perú, un niño de 12 años descubre sus inclinaciones sexuales, por lo que su manifestación lo lleva a experimentar inocentemente, actitudes no propias de un varón, juega con muñecas de su hermana, se viste con las prendas de su madre y recibe caricias de un hombre mayor. Sus hermanos Serafín y Esteban se han dado cuenta de los modos de su menor hermano, “Sé esta convirtiendo en maricón” (homosexual) es el argumento de los hermanos para intentar recuperar la masculinidad del niño golpeándolo salvajemente llegando al extremo de intentar asesinarlo arrastrándolo con un tractor por el terreno de cultivo. Enterado del caso el Padre, le brinda su protección y su apoyo, pero los constantes abusos y golpes brutales de sus hermanos hace que huya a la capital Lima. Eduardo a los 18 años decide retornar a Huamanga, lugar donde su familia se ha instalado huyendo de su pueblo por el terrorismo, tiene como misión encontrar a su padre, quien para entonces se ha convertido en un viejo enfermo, el Padre sorprendido lo acoge y presenta a la familia en su actual condición de transformista, el rechazo de los hermanos y de la Madre es unánime, Serafín y Esteban se encargan de castigar a Yahaira, quien ha tomado este nuevo nombre de mujer. Yahaira toma su destino por su cuenta, la prostitucion callejera es una opción para sobrevivir, pero la sociedad incomprensible e intolerante y las actitudes homofóbicas de los habitantes lo marginan y castigan constantemente dejándolo al borde de la muerte en reiteradas ocasiones.

(The Gardener's Dog)
Directors: Renzo Zanelli, Oleg Kheyfets
Writer/ cinematographer:Renzo Zanelli
Music:Chicha Libre, etc.
Year/length:2009. 98 minutes.
Setting:Shintuya, Madre de Dios, 2009
Language:Spanish; some Yanesha and English
Indian Content:high
Released On:DVD
Rating: very good

This film follows the story of Brus, a young Bora-Huitoto painter in Shintuya, a village in the Madre de Dios region of the Amazon. A petroleum company has come to the village offering "development" and "progress" in exchange for the right to drill in their ancestral land. Brus seeks help from a non-profit group, but grows suspicious of their intentions. He secretly films coversations between the petrol representatives to reveal their true motives to his community. The story is based on actual events: Hunt Oil went to Madre de Dios in 2007, when President Alan Garcia was trying to make money from the Amazon. This film realistically portrays the tactics that corporations use all over the world, offering short-term assistance in exchange for drilling that will destroy communities and poison lands.
Facebook page:

Sinopsis en español:
El Perro del Hortelano es una comedia que narra los intentos de Brus, un artista indígena, por organizar su comunidad contra una empresa petrolera estadounidense, Kenny Oil, que busca expander sus operaciones en territorios intangibles. En busca de respuestas, Brus se une a una ONG local, y se enreda en el trabajo subversivo de una investigadora norteamericana, Angie. Conforme va adentrandose en el mundo surrealista de los voluntarios y "expertos" en desarrollo, él encuentra su propia manera de llevar la fuerza a su comunidad.

Director/writer:Josh Hyde
Cinematography:Dan Fischer
Music:Michael Deller
Year/length:2010. 80 minutes.
Language:English, Spanish, Quechua
Indian Content:medium-high
Released On:not yet on DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good

A white family from the U.S. comes to Cusco to survey a plot of land where they plan to build a hotel. The poor Quechua family living in a shack on the land are informed that they must move out in three days. The two teen boys make a living on the streets, the older one, Jano, by pickpocketing, and the younger, Pablo, by selling postcards. In a series of coincidences, each brother ends up meeting the same-aged daughter of the U.S. family. Jaro seduces the older girl, and she waits for her family to spend the day in Sacsaywaman so she can bring him up to their hotel room. The story between the younger boy and younger girl is more tender. Pablo returns the wallet that Jano has stolen from the girl's father, and they spend the day strolling through beautiful Cusco as the girl arrives at an understanding of the poverty lurking behind every corner of the city's tourist charm. Postales is a little on the "messagy" side, but the sweet story, compelling pacing, and an honest view of this great city with all its contradicions make the film a success.
Official site: postales-themovie.com

Sinopsis en español:
Un chico que vende postales en las calles de Cusco encuentra el amor en una chica estadounidense. La temática abarca los encuentros interculturales que se dan en esta ciudad y sus implicancias. El director optó por usar tanto actores profesionales, como no-actores más cercanos a la relidad de los personajes.

(The Milk of Sorrow)
Director/writer:Claudia Llosa
Cinematography:Natasha Braier
Music: Selma Mutal, Los Destellos de Edith Delgado (chicha band), Los Pakines, La Sarita, Magaly Solier
Year/length:2009. 100 minutes.
Language:Spanish, Quechua
Indian Content:high
Released On:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good excellent

Fausta (played by Magaly Solier) is a melancholy young woman who becomes even more depressed after her mother dies. When her uncle takes her to the doctor because of her fainting spells, the doctor tells the uncle that Fausta has an infection because she keeps a potato in her vagina (which she believes will keep men from touching her). But her uncle explains that her illness is "la teta asustada" (literally "the astonished tit"), a disease transmitted through the milk of mothers who were raped or abused during Peru's terrorist war. Fausta remembers watching her mother's rape from inside the womb, and believes that her soul has hidden in the ground ever since. In order to raise money to take her mother's body back to her hometown for burial, Fausta must overcome her fear of the outside and accept a job as a maid at "The Big House," the home of a wealthy concert pianist. The pianist, a cold woman, has writers' block and plagiarizes the folksongs she hears Fausta singing in Spanish and Quechua (Magaly Solier wrote many of these songs herself). The elderly gardener Noé (Efraín Solís), also employed at the Big House, gently helps Fausta overcome her fear of men. This slow-paced film is full of symbolism and rewards the patient, perceptive viewer. La teta asustada is director Claudia Llosa's second feature, and her second collaboration with Magaly Solier (see Madeinusa above).

Sinopsis en español:
Fausta padece una muy conocida enfermedad, llamada “teta asustada”, una enfermedad que se transmite por la leche materna de las mujeres que fueron violadas o maltratadas durante la guerra del terrorismo del Sendero Luminoso en Perú. La guerra se terminó hace tiempo, pero Fausta vive recordándola a causa de su enfermedad, “la enfermedad del miedo”, que le ha robado el alma. La muerte de su madre la pondrá en una situación extrema, teniendo que enfrentarse a sus miedos y al secreto que oculta con más recelo. Y es que se ha introducido una papa en la vagina, a modo de escudo, ya que sólo el asco detiene a los asquerosos. La película, de algún modo, cuenta la búsqueda de un florecer, un viaje del miedo a la libertad.

El ultimo guerrero Chanka

(The Last Chanka Warrior)
Director:Víctor Zarabia
Writers:Víctor Zarabia, Ángel Sihui
Cinematography:Daniel Segura
Music: Jorge Luís Morales
Language:Spanish, Quechua
Released On:none

500 years ago there existed a race of warriors called the Chankas, who sacrificed a witch who vowed that he would return to take revenge on them. Five millennia later, two archaeology students discover strange signs in ancient rocks. The time has come for the evil being to free himself and unleash his fury. The Chancay were a genuine culture that flourished in Lima between 800 and 1400 A.D. and left behind a distinctive, comical style of pottery, but El último guerrero Chanka dispenses with history to present a mash-up of fantasy, horror and martial arts films.
Facebook page: facebook.com/elultimo.guerrerochanka
Interview with the director (in Spanish):

Sinopsis en español:
Hace más de quinientos años atrás existió una raza de guerreros llamados Los Chankas, ellos le sacrificaron cruelmente a un hechicero; y éste juro vengarse gritando al infierno que volvería aun después de la muerte a vengarse. Cinco milenios después, dos estudiantes de arqueología en una expedición enigmática, descubren señales extrañas en unas piedras antiguas con mensajes de hace miles de años. Un cazador en medio de un bosque misterioso. El tiempo ha llegado: la promesa del maléfico ser se ha desatado al cumplirse los quinientos años y la vida de los dos aventureros está en peligro, pero la mala suerte también llega para el cazador cuando le asesina a sangre fría a su esposa y éste se convierte en el último guerrero Chanka. Un ritual que desata la furia del hechicero. El guerrero Chanka combate con los súbditos del mal. Y el último sacrificio se desata en una pelea que decidirá el destino de toda una raza.

Director/writer:Nora de Izcue
Cinematography: Jorge Vignati, Gianfranco Annichini
Music:Luis David Aguilar
Year/length:1983. 85 or 108 minutes (?)
Setting:Iquitos (city in the Amazon)
Language:Spanish, some Quechua
Released On:none

Miguel (played by Johnny Palacios), a Lima sociologist visiting Iquitos, meets Nexy (Silvia Chavez Toro), an Amazonian native. Miguel finds that Nexy has many phobias, including a fear of Yacurunas, mythic creatures of the Amazon. To cure her fears the couple seek the help of Meliton (Meliton Delgado), a curandero, who administers an ayahuasca ritual and helps her relive her infancy and the destruction of her home. After Nexy disappears, Miguel submits to the ayahuasca ritual to better understand the beliefs of the Amazon people. El viento del ayahuasca is Nora de Izcue's only fiction film; she has made several documentaries on indigenous peoples of Peru, the Agrarian reform, and the Fujimori administration. Viento del ayahuasca is seemingly impossible to find, but there is a clip on Youtube:

Sinopsis en español:
Miguel, sociólogo limeño, conoce en Iquitos a Nexy, joven del lugar. Ella tiene inexplicables terrores de los Yacurunas, seres mitológicos de la amazonía. Miguel la ayuda a superar sus miedos con el ayahuasca, que le suministra en forma ritual el curandero Melitón. Nexy tiene visiones: ve su infancia y asiste a la destrucción de la cabaña donde vivió su familia. Despus del ritual, Miguel y Nexy se internan en la selva para seguir el tratamiento, pero Nexy desaparece. Miguel participa en las ceremonias y va comprendiendo el significado de los ritos y creencias del lugar.

  Monster Movies:

(Jarjacha: The Incest Demon)
Director/writer:Mélinton Eusebio
Year/length:2002. 70 minutes.
Setting:unnamed poor village
Language:Spanish; a song in Quechua
Indian Content:high
Released On:none
Rating: lousy ok

Three anthropology students come to a small Andean town to study extreme poverty. They can't find lodging in the town and finally come to the house of a woman weeping over the body of her dead brother. They stay in her home, then help her bring the coffin to the cemetery, since no else is helping her. The next day a dead body is discovered with unusual signs that suggest the activity of the Jarjacha--a demon that sucks fat out of people, and only appears when someone in the town has committed incest. A posse is formed to find the sinners, and they capture two llamas, which in the morning turn out to be a man and woman. The incestuous couple is stoned to death, but the jarjacha continues to attack the next day. This is a very low-budget horror flick, sometimes laughably bad, but often more effective than some big-budget horror movies. It also provides an authentic portrayal of an Andean village (everyone is chewing coca leaves, for instance).

The myth of the incest demon who steals fat from its victims is very common throughout the Andes. Variations of the creature go by the names Qarqacha, Jarjacha, Náqak, or Pishtaco. The creature has come to be associated with the white man, and is depicted as white in this film. (See, for instance, Altiplano above, where the villagers call the white doctors pishtacos when mercury poisoning from the mines starts killing people.)

Sinopsis en español:
Un grupo de estudiantes llegan a un pobre pueblo a hacer un estudio sobre la pobreza extrema. Allí suceden cosas extrañas, se oyen horribles gruñidos por la noche y aparecen cadáveres... todo parece ser obra de Jarjacha, un demonio que aparece cuando la gente peca de incesto.

Director:Jose Huertas
Music:Dúo Toqras
Length:76 minutes.
Setting:unnamed small town
Indian Content:high
Released On:none
Rating: lousy ok

This is easily the worst monster movie of the bunch, and one of the most unfathomably awful movies I've ever seen. Nákaq isn't even a monster in this one--that would have been beyond the budget--but just a guy in a cape and hood with some half-assed kung fu moves who attacks people for no particular reason. The village idiot Satuca provides some of the funniest scenes in the movie, for which I give the film an extra arrow.

Sinopsis en español:
El Nakaq camina por la selva peruana, y se acerca donde un hombre echa una siesta, al parecer el olor no le agrada y no lo degüella. A cambio va a por otro personaje que se esta bañando en una cascada (oportunamente de espaldas) y le da chicharrón. Vemos a otro hombre pasear por la sierra, lleva una pala, pasea y pasea, masca hojas de coca, cava un poco y se encuentra con la víctima del Nakaq. Del susto pierde el sombrero, sale corriendo y el drama se desata.

Director:Jose Antonio Martinez Gamboa
Cinematography:Jose Alejandro Martinez Cox
Year/length:2003. 74 minutes.
Setting: Ayacucho, 1986
Language:Spanish, some Quechua
Indian Content:high
Released On:none
Rating: lousy

Another variation on the sacamantecas (fat-stealing) creature. This film focuses on a band of townsmen who attempt to capture and the pishtaco, and twice end up killing humans--though one of them was a rapist. One of the townsmen is arrested for taking part in the lynching. The film begins and ends with a framing scenario in which a man at a typewriter tells the story, and concludes that pishtacos exist in the real world in the form of foreigners who come to South America to exploit natural resources. For more info on these movies and the sacamantecas myth, see this blog:

(Blood and Tradition)
Director/writer:Nilo Inga
Year/length:2005. 80 minutes.
Setting:Huáchac, a town in Junín
Language:Spanish, one scene in Quechua
Released On:none

Liz and Ramiro make love in the mountains as they wait for the New Year festivities. The evil Naqak (Pishtaco) rapes and kills Liz. Ramiro escapes and hides with his friends, but Liz's blood lies in the earth without peace. Ramiro must spill the blood of her killer to allow her spirit to rest. Compared to the other pishtaco films described above, Sangre y tradicion is a masterpiece. Although it's a low-budget film with amateur lighting and cinematography, the story is engaging, and some local color is shown through dancing, singing, and a scene with a curandero who divines Ramiro's illness by reading coca leaves and the entrails of a poor cuy (guinea pig).

Sinopsis en español:
Sangre y tradición es un homenaje a la huachaquinos como raza guerrera, que por medio del Auquish perpetúan su condición, la rememoran en el tiempo. Liz y Ramiro disfrutan de su amor en los hermosos parajes de la serranía, esperando las festividades de año nuevo para participar en las costumbres del pueblo. El malvado Naqak o Pishtaco rapta y descuartiza a Liz. Ramiro aterrado por el hecho escapa buscando refugio en sus amigos. La sangre de Liz retumba en el vientre de la tierra sin encontrar paz, por la cual Ramiro, por pedido de su amada, bajo la sombra de un sueño, tendrá que derramar la sangre del asesino y dejar que el espíritu de Liz pueda descansar tranquilamente.


Director:Nilo Inga
Music:Indiogenes; Son Cafe
Year/length:2006. 51 minutes.
Indian Content:medium
Released On:VCD
Rating: lousy ok

A group of medical students go to the jungle to fulfill a research assignment on natural medicine. They ignore the warnings of the indigenous inhabitants and enter a dangerous area where the Tunche dwells. The tunche is a clawed creature who can assume the shape of animals or even the friends of his victims.

Sinopsis en español:
La historia de un grupo de estudiantes de medicina que en un viaje de investigación a la selva peruana conocen la leyenda de "El Tunche". Los incrédulos jóvenes harán caso omiso a las recomendaciones de los lugareños y se internarán en el monte, donde les espera el ataque del sanguinario ser mítico.

  Films Not Yet Reviewed:
El Abigeo (Flaviano Quispe, 2001)
[based on a story by Ushanan Jampi]
Alla ricerca dell'impero sepolto (Gianfranco Parolini, 1988)
Amor en las alturas (Percy Pacco, 2008)
Ashaninka (José María "Chema" Salcedo, 2007)
[Docu-drama about the Sendero Luminoso's invasion of Ashaninka lands.]
Aya Tullu (Julio Oré, 2010)
Buscando a Papa (Flaviano Quispe, 2008, 132 min.)
Caciques (Héctor Marreros, 2005, 90 min.)
[Involucrado el hijo del alcalde en un crimen y como único testigo la pareja del sacerdote de la comunidad, la película muestra el chantaje y el sometimiento de un pueblo a la contaminación del medio ambiente por parte de una empresa minera, el descontento social y la injusticia por el abuso del poder de las autoridades.]
Camino a la verdad (Elmer Estofanero Fuentes, 2010)
Casa embrujada (Joseph Lora, 2007)
Casa rosada (Palito Ortega Matute, 2009)
[A professor in Ayacucho is arrested and accused of being a member of the Shining Path. Low Indian content.]
Coliseo: Los campeones (Alessandro Rossi, 2011)
Con nervios de toro (Nilo Inga, 2010)
[Lucero retorna a su pueblo después de muchos años, para cumplir el Carguyoc (cargo) de realizar la fiesta del pueblo de Llacuas Huáchac. La presencia de Lucero cambiara totalmente la estructura de las festividades por la influencia modernista que trae. Le dará un matiz diferente a las costumbres y tradiciones, sembrando enfrentamientos y contradicciones en la comunidad.]
Cuando el cielo es azul (Sandra Wiese, 2004)
Cusco 4 Suyos (Alvaro Sarmiento, 2010) [not sure if film was completed]
El demonio de los Andes (Palito Ortega Matute, 2014)
Desaparecer ( Dorian Fernández–Moris, 2015)
Dios perdona el pecado, el incesto no (Palito Ortega Matute, 2009)
Dios tarda pero no Olvida II (Palito Ortega Matute, 1999)
El Dorado (mini-series, 2010, Terry Cunningham, 180 minutes)
El encanto de la sirena (Javier Peralta Durán, 2010)
Encuentro de dos mundos: la otra cara (Héctor Marreros, 2010)
[Comedia andina que parodia el encuentro del conquistador Francisco Pizarro con el Inca Atahualpa.]
El espacio entre las cosas (Raúl del Busto, 2011) [not sure about Indian content]
Fuerza del condor (Esau Mamani Cotacallapa, 2012)
Good Bye Pachacutek (Federico Gabriel Garcia, 2006)
[Rascatraz (Omar Fitzmaurice) y Cholita (Rosita Quispe) son dos hermanitos huérfanos que caen en manos de Lola (Monica Cabrejos). Ella los obligará a mendigar para mantener el precario terreno que habitan en la llamada Ciudadela Pachacútek, un asentamiento humano al norte de Lima. Sus vidas darán un giro con la llegada de un nuevo líder (Reynaldo Arenas) quien promete mejorar las condiciones de vida de la población.0
Gritos de libertad (Luis Berrocal, 2003)
[Shining Path]
El hijo del viento (same as Buscano a papa, above)
El hijo prodigo: una pelicula huancaina (Daniel Nunez Duran, 2011)
Huaca (Nilo Inga, 2000, 73 min.)
[Gira en torno de una discusión de los patrones de una hacienda, la cual pone en riesgo la celebración de una fiesta, pero el espíritu de la madre tierra, encarnado en la huaca del título, hará que ésta se desarrolle de la mejor manera.]
Huerfanito (Flaviano Quispe, 2004)
Incesto en los Andes: La maldicion de los jarjachas (Palito Ortega Matute, 2002)
Jarjacha III (Palito Ortega Matute)
Jarjacha vs. Pishtaco: La batalla final (Nilo Escriba Palomino)
Justicia Popular (Jorge Paredes)
Lagrimas de fuego (José Gabriel Huertas, 1996)
[Cuando a inicios de los 90’ fue aplacado el flagelo del terrorismo, surgieron las pandillas urbanas, nuevo azote que Huamanga soportó desde entonces. Con guión y actuación de Mélinton Eusebio, esta producción de Wari Films es la primera película realizada íntegramente en Ayacucho por ayacuchanos.]
Lengua de los zorros (Federico García Hurtado, 1991)
Leyenda del condenado (Cine Aymara, 2011) website
Leyenda del Ekeko (Javier Caceres Saravia, 2011, 83 min.)
La maldición de los Jarjachas II (Palito Ortega Matute, 2003)
La maldición del Pagachi (Cine Aymara Studios, 2013(?))
[Cuenta la historia de 5 estudiantes, quienes son secuestrados y son victimas de los sacrificios humanos. Según la tradición y creencia andina, la tierra necesita un pago (ofrenda) y los estudiantes son los más indicados. Pero el ritual no es más que una puerta de entrada al infierno. Ahora todo esta fuera de control.]
Mapacho (Carlos Marín Tello, 2017)
[La vida de una estilista transexual en Pucallpa.]
Maracio, el sentir de los pobres (Rondolfo Mamani Mogrovejo, 2011)
Marcados por el destino (Oscar Gonzales, 2009) (website)
Milagro en la selva (Andy Janczak, 1969)
[A plane crashes in the Amazon and the sole survivor, a little boy, is captured by Jivaros.]
Milagroso Udilberto Vásquez (Héctor Marreros, 2006)
El Misterio del Kharisiri (Henry Vallejos, 2004)
Mónica, más alla de la muerte (Roger Acosta, 2008)
Los negritos de Huánuco (Elías Cabello, 2014, 55 min.)
Trata de la vida de Julián, que es entrevistado por una reportera española realizadora de documentales en el Perú. Ella será convencida para viajar a Huánuco y conocer así las costumbres de esa zona de Perú.
Objetos (Rafael Arevalo, 2011)
Octavo Cuadro (Elizabeth Rojas Tomás )
[Explora el mundo mágico religioso propio de la cosmovisión andina recuperando la tradición oral mediante una historia inspirada en la leyenda de la Virgen de Cocharcas de Junin.]
Pueblo viejo (Hans Matos Cámac, 2012)
[Con el formato de un western se logra un acercamiento al mundo rural inspirado en algunos relatos de Arguedas.]
El rincón de los inocentes (Palito Ortega Matute, 2005)
Los Ronderos (Marianne Eyde, 1987, 74 min.)
[Based on real events in Chota, Cajamarca, 1978-1980.]
Sangre de selva (Ricardo Villarán, 1937)
Sangre inocente (Palito Ortega Matute, 2000)
Sufrimiento de madre (Daniel Núñez Duran, 2009, 85 min.)
Supay, el hijo del condenado (Miler Eusebio Morales, 2010)
Los Taitas (Héctor Marreros, 2004, 80 min.)
[Los campesinos viven únicamente del producto de su trabajo en las chacras y el servicio militar obligatorio se convierte en un problema que los aleja del trabajo.]
Terror in the Jungle (Tom DeSimone, 1968)
Uma, cabeza de bruja (Lalo Parra Bello, 2005)
[Un profesor y sus alumnos intentan capturar la cabeza desprendida de una bruja, pues según la creencia, serán recompensados por esta si mantienen los hechos en secreto.]
Vilchico: el pacto diabolico (Héctor Oré Ruiz, 2010)
Yawar Wanka (Jacqueline Riveros Matos, 2014)

  Short Films / Cortometrajes:

Kentishani y Chaavaja
Directed by Aldo Salvino
1996. 29 minutes.
Two Asháninka children, Kentishani (played by Fredie Iñapi) and Chaavaja (played by Yerme Aquituari) return from a visit to relatives and find their village destroyed and in flames. The only survivor they find is their grandfather, who tells them to run to Shima and warn their relatives of the coming danger. As the two children head toward Shima they encounter a wounded soldier who commands them to take him down river in their canoe. Although they don't speak each other's language, the children and the soldier eventually learn to respect each other. After a brief stay at the militar base, Kentishani and Chaavaja return home to rebuild their village.

Sinopsis en español:
Los hermanos Kentishani (7) y Chaavaja (9) de la etnia de los Asháninkas, viven en un caserío en la selva amazónica del Perú. Como sabemos, muchos de estos pequeños caseríos fueron destruidos durante el conflicto armado entre el ejército peruano y el grupo terrorista “Sendero Luminoso”. La historia se inicia con el regreso de Kentishani y Chaavaja de una visita a familiares en otro pueblo. Al llegar a su caserío lo encuentran destrozado y en llamas. Su abuelo que ha sobrevivido a la masacre les aconseja huir a Shima y avisar a sus tíos del peligro.

La película fue hecha en 1994, en plena guerra Ashaninka contra Sendero Luminosos. Este mediometraje fue el primero de tres que se realizarían en la sierra y la costa para formar un largometraje, proyecto que no prosperó, sin embargo la historia de los niños Ashaninka tuvo una gran difusión internacional a excepción del Perú donde solo fue visto en algunos canales pequeños y eventos temáticos.

Chicle (Gum)
Director: Josh Hyde
2005. 14 min.
In English, Quechua and Spanish
Chicle addresses the innocence and incorruptibility of a young boy trying to survive and remain on the path to morality in Cusco, despite the depraved actions of those around him. Pablo, a gum seller, discovers a lost American girl and helps her find her mother. Meanwhile, his older brother robs an American tourist who happens to be lost girl's mother and gives the stolen money to his own mother. Pablo has to return to his family heartbroken and empty-handed. But his spirits are raised when his brother presents him with a stolen photo of the girl, and his mother gives him two American dollars to buy gum for the next day. This film was remade into the feature-length film Postales.

Director: Dorian Fernández
2007. 30 min.
Inspirado en la leyenda amazónica del chullachaqui. Siete estudiantes de biología se internan dentro de la selva amazónica para recolectar muestras y tomar apuntes para una asignación final. El lugar elegido es Supayacu (Cocha del diablo), donde se han reportado misteriosas desapariciones. En el trayecto, vivirán una serie de acciones que harán de un viaje de placer y con fin académico, una auténtica pesadilla, en la cual irán desapareciendo uno por uno, sin percatarse que quizás se han encontrado, sin desearlo en medio de la exuberante vegetación, con una criatura mitológica y fatídica de pies desiguales. Algunos de los rasgos más saltantes de esta criatura, según la mitología amazónica, son su capacidad de mimetización, adquiriendo la forma que desee. Además, una característica cojera, producto de la asimetría de sus pies. Dícese que en circunstancias muy especiales, sale al bosque a buscar incautos o personas en excursión, los cuales al ser hechizados, son conducidos hasta parajes desconocidos y nunca más se vuelve a saber de ellos.

Erase una voz
Director/writer: Harold Palacios Rodriguez
2012. 16 minutes.
In Quechua and Spanish.
Avelina (Mariluz Quispe Janampa), a campesina from Socos, Ayacucho, is cheated out of her land after her husband dies when a swindler from the big city persuades her to sign a contract she cannot read, telling her she must sign it in order to inherit the land.

Kay Pacha
Director/writer: Álvaro Sarmiento
2012. 15 minutes.
Un drama con tintes de humor que relata la vida de Maribel, de 15 años, quien trabajan en la calle tomándose fotografías con turistas junto a su amiga Rosmery. Escuchan en la radio sobre un concurso de canto y Maribel sueña con participar, sin embargo solo es un sueño. Ella debe trabajar día a día para poder ayudar económicamente a sus padres.

Mosocc Punchaw
Director/writer: Juan Carlos Paitan Montes
2012. 11 minutes.
Paulina (Noemi Sotacuro Castillo), una joven que vive en la comunidad de Ambato, Huancavelica, cuenta su historia de cómo vive y como llega a ser regidora del distrito de Yauli, pese a la discriminación que sufre como mujer. In Quechua with Spanish subtitles.

El sonido del sol
Director/writer: Jossué Gandhi Morales Mendoza
2012. 15 minutes.
A boy (Hermitaño Suclle Huamán) sells paltry items on the street in Cusco. A blind quena player sits down near him and has no more luck than the boy. The boy then goes on a quest to find something; we don't know what until the end. This film has no dialogue. People who have visited Cusco will enjoy recognizing some of the sights.
Available on Youtube: youtube.com/watch?v=tx0W1xBHvKA

El tayta
Director: Michael Contreras Camayo
2012. Quechua.
Cada 24 de julio los elegidos de cada estancia recorren kilómetros rumbo al cerro Huacravilca en la cordillera de los Andes para rencontrarse con el gran Tayta Shanty (Apóstol Santiago). Durante muchos años Tayta Shanti estuvo apartado de la gente, esperando al elegido. Mama Maura junto a sus pastores también son parte de esta peregrinación, deteniendo su marcha en cada lugar sagrado para hacer el pago a la tierra. Después de la ardua caminata todos logran llegar a Huacravilca. El Tayta Shanty recibe a mama Maura poniéndola a prueba. En el proceso los pueblos escuchan su canto, por lo cual todos marchan con sus respectivas ofrendas, el momento propicio y de acuerdo ala profecía, Tayta Shanty logra rencontrarse con su pueblo dejando a ellos como su legado continuar la festividad en honor a su nombre.

Una tragedia del alcohol
Director: Joseph Lora
2009. 13 min. Quechua.
Silvestre Condori retorna hebrio a su casa luego de gastarse el dinero de la venta de los vellones que su esposa Antuca le habia encargado, Antuca y su hija Mañuca aguardan la llegada de Silvestre. Silvestre ya cerca a su casa encuentra a Miguelcha su hermano, invitándole a beber unos tragos más en la casa, luego de concluir una botella, éste entra a la cocina y le dice a Antuca que le preste el tupo de su manta para abrir una nueva, ella se opone; caldeando los ánimos del marido y este en un arranque de furia golpea con la botella en la cabeza de Antuca, desparramándose el trago por doquier y causando un incendio de descomunales proporciones y la muerte a su esposa y su pequeña hija.

Director: Gastón Vizcarra
2009. 20 min.
A more kindly version of the woman-bear offspring myth than the one found in Kukuli above. This Ukuku is not a menace but a misfit, a misunderstood creature looking for ice in a warming world.

[El ukuku de la mitología andina es una criatura nacida de la unión de una mujer con un oso de anteojos, de los que hereda su sabiduría y fuerza, respectivamente. Su condición de semidios le confiere la potestad de salvaguardar la buena conducta de su poblado, sin embargo, su principal función es la de escalar a los más altos nevados de la cordillera para picar un pedazo de hielo que bajará para la ceremonia de purificación del pueblo y de sus primeras cosechas. En los tiempos que corren, es durante la fiesta del Señor de Qoylluriti, en Cusco, cuando los ukukus ascienden a los nevados en pos de las bendiciones. En El Ukuku de Gastón Vizcarra los tiempos han cambiado y la naturaleza sufre los efectos del calentamiento global y las incurias del hombre, ergo el ukuku--símbolo de la cosmovisión andina y la conservación del medio ambiente--está desfasado de su contexto y por eso desvaría en la costa. El corto pone en contraste la jocosa actitud del ukuku con la irritable conducta de los costeños como símbolo de dos mundos distantes.]

Viaje de ilusiones
Director: Alejandro Legaspi
1997. 10 minutes.
Julian, a boy from the countryside, sees his village emptying out, his friends and neighbors fleeing from a devastating drought. Julian's father consults a curandero who reads in the coca leaves death and desolation. The father is determined to stay, but Julian finds a job at a gold prospecting camp in the jungle. There he begins to understand why his father did not want to abandon his village and his culture. From the director of Gregorio and Juliana.

Julián, un niño campesino de 12 años, ve con tristeza cómo su pequeño pueblo se va quedando vacío. Sus amigos y vecinos huyen de la terrible sequía que empobrece cada día más a todos. El padre de Julián pide al brujo que lea el futuro en las hojas de coca y lo que éstas presagian es muerte y desolación; esto no atemoriza al padre de Julián, quien está decidido a quedarse en su comunidad, pero Julián decide ir a trabajar a los lavaderos de oro de la Selva. Ya en el campamento, Julián se da cuenta que todo es diferente. Recién entiende por qué su padre no abandona su pueblo, su cultura, ni su tierra. Con Robert Matamoros, Joel Ezeta, Merit Olaya, y William Hipan.

Ayaymama (Marco Antonio Tam Orellana, 2016, 14 min.)
A doctor moves to the jungle after the loss of his own son, searching for inner peace. But upon arriving and discovering the harsh realities of those living in the region--including child trafficking--he must decide how to move forward. Cadena de cristal (Nilo Inga, 2007, 45 min.)
Gran viaje del Capitan Neptuno (Aldo Salvini, 1990, 14 min.)
[La historia de dos locos que han decidido rescatar el Monitor Huascar en poder de Chile desde la guerra del Pacifico en 1879.
Nakaj (Daniel Aizenstat, 1994, 20 min.)
[Dramatizes the Andean myth of a spirit who steals life from people wandering the mountains at night.]
El niño que quería ser oso (Anja Dalhoff, 1999, 32 min.)
[Un niño pastor pierde sus ovejas. Con temor del castigo de su papá, decide no regresar a su casa.]
Ofelia (Humberto Gutiérrez Montero, 2007, 11 min.)
Paramo (Daniel Rodriguez, 2009, 17 min.)
A privileged young woman with an idealized view of the "noble savage" arrives in the Andes to find a completely different reality. Comedy based on the short story "Andare verso il popolo" by Italian writer Alberto Moravia.
[Basado en el cuento "Acercarse al pueblo" de Alberto Moravia, esta sátira trata sobre una joven citadina de clase alta, que maneja un discurso totalmente mitificado del "buen indio" y del ande, que llega a la sierra para enfrentar una realidad totalmente diferente.]
Pichqa Minutukuna Llaqtanchispi Wanuqkunamanta (Five Minutes for the Souls of America) (Cesar Galindo, 5 min.)
Experimental film in Spanish and Quechua. While a voice-over presents a South American Indian's perspective on the coming of Columbus and the Europeans, and a voice in Spanish invites us to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the New World, we are presented with angry and elegiac images of a horseman (symbolic of the Spanish conquerors) and an imposing crucifix in a large graveyard.
Punuy Wambra (Selva Rica, 15 min.)
[An Andean porter is hired for a mountain climbing gig. He discovers that his clients are there to exploit the mountain for gold. The mining companies method: Melt the glacier to get to the gold. Luckily, the spirit of the porter’s ancestors guide him to action. Based on a real situation occurring in Chile and Peru.]
Q’ayqasqa: Cuentos de San Jerónimo (Maykon Lope, 2010, 12 min.)
Qué Tal James (What’s up James) (Fabricio Linares Santillan, 2011, 4 min.)
Motivated by a desire to see the world, a wooden man leaves his owner to discover the complex realities that lay beyond his home.
Sendero del Chulo (Oscar Catorca, 2007, 45 min.)
Shicshi Rabo (Carlos Marin, 2014, 20 min.)
Cuenta la historia de una esposa y madre ejemplar amazonica cuya felicidad acaba cuando descubre la infidelidad de su marido y a pesar de ello se ve obligada a cuidarlo de una penosa enfermedad que lo mantiene postrado en una silla de ruedas.
Tajimat Pujut (El buen vivir) (Janeth Paukai Deten, 2012, 8 min.)
When a boy is behaving badly, the father and grandfather iniciate him into Ayahuasca. In Awajún (Aguaruna) with Spanish subtitles.
Una historia enraizada en la profunda cultura amazónica donde las malas conductas de los jóvenes son curadas mediante un acto ritual donde la búsqueda de armonía es lo fundamental para forjar una convivencia fraterna y solidaria en la comunidad.
Umari Awa: El hombre que se transformó en garza (Microcine Kukisha, Iquitos, 6 min.)
Un cuento para niños y nos narra la historia de cómo el pueblo Kukama aprendió a pescar gracias al mágico personaje del Hombre Garza. In Spanish, no subtitles.
Yacuruna (Carlos Marin, 2014, 25 min.)
Un curandero en Pucallpa es requerido por la policía y obligado a consultar la planta del ayahuasca para desentrañar el misterio de un extraño cadáver encontrado a orillas de la laguna de Yarina. ¿Será la prueba de que los seres del agua existen?

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