Sunday, December 23, 2018

“A Son of Man” Ecuador Center of “The New World”

By José Alberto Hermosillo
“A Son of Man” Ecuador Center of “The New World” ©2019 Paracas Independent films
“A Son of a Man,” the extraordinary journey to the center of Ecuador's wilderness with tones of mysticism - a breathtaking, cinematic experience

The architects of this ambitious movie, Jamaicanoproblem and Pablo Agüero, found a way to express themselves through the arts. They shot their film with no script, no actors, lighting, or special effects. 

They wanted to go further from the filmmakers of Dogma Movement and worked with real people, in a real story without falling into the documentary category either. 

The filmmakers wanted to create a new genre by combining documentary and fiction yet, but with real-life characters in real situations mixing those with their amusing history in their exuberant land.
Lily van Ghemen. Luis Felipe Fernández Salvador y Campodonico. Photo José A. Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
“A Son of a Man” vividly recounts the lives of three generations of a wealthy Ecuadorian family. The characters connect with their heritage, descendants, and nature.
Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Boloña (the son, also known as Pipe), A Son of a Man ©2019 Paracas Independent films

This unbelievable story is narrated through the eyes of young Pipe, the nickname for Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Boloña. 

In this “wild new adventure.” Pipe will try to reconcile old disagreements of the past between his father and his deceased grandfather.

In Latin America, people with money educate their children abroad. In Pipe’s case, his father had him studying at the Shattuck-Saint Mary’s School, Minnesota, where our story begins.
Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Campodonico (father), A Son of a Man ©2019 Paracas Independent films
Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Campodonico orders his son Pipe to return to join him for an ambitious expedition in search of the lost treasure of the Inca Emperor Atahualpa.

Upon his arrival, Pipe notices the sharp differences between the USA and his homeland. What he finds even more startling was to see “Men with Guns” guarding the gate of his father’s estate.

Inside the family's library, young Pipe sees plenty of pictures of his grandfather’s old glories. Those included when he was named the strongest man on earth or when he was John Wayne’s best friend in California.
Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Campodonico (father), A Son of a Man ©2019 Paracas Independent films
To get to the Inca’s treasure, they have to uncover four stations – the final destination is the one marked with the shape of “Atahualpa’s Tear” - a mythical land. To discovery that place is like seeing a glacier in the middle of the jungle. 

Pipe’s Captain America jacket represents the sharp influence of the Western culture in the so-called “New World” in South America.
Pipe and his father Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Campodonico, A Son of a Man ©2019 Paracas Independent films

The father thinks out loud: “My son, you are not my son. If you think because you come out of my sperm, you are my son, you are wrong. ‘A son of man is not born... it becomes one.” 
Pipe and his father Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Campodonico, A Son of a Man ©2019 Paracas Independent films
The fight between the West and the New World is represented through symbolism. The conflict between the conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the savage emperor Atahualpa have repercussions in the present time. 

The legend says, “Only a dead man can see Atahualpa's eye.”
Lily van Ghemen, A Son of a Man ©2019 Paracas Independent films

The presence of the German actress Lily van Ghemen is exquisite, she plays Lily or "La Rubia." Her beauty can be compared with the exquisiteness of Elena Rojo, a Mexican performer who played Inez in Werner Herzog’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God.” - an influential 1970s film. 
A Son of a Man ©2019 Paracas Independent films
 “A Son of a Man” is fascinating visually speaking, but it needed some trimming and smoother transitions to make its storytelling more fluent and less artsy.  

The raucous music combined with the gorgeous cinematography gives more impact to the magic realism style of the film. 

Other authors who work in the magic realism genre are Alejandro Jodorowsky, Arturo Ripstein and in the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In their masterworks, they tried to find some spiritual answers to man’s mission on earth.

In World Cinema, we can find other brilliant productions about the exploration of the New World such as: “The Mission,” “Cabeza de Vaca,” “The Fountain,” “The New World,” and more recently, Colombia's Oscar nominee “The Embrace of the Serpent.”
A Son of a Man poster. Photo José A. Hermosillo  ©2019 Festival in LA
Accordingly to the filmmakers, this ambitious production was created with love. It took ten years in the making. 

“A Son of a Man” represents a healing process - a catharsis to exorcize the commanding presence of the director’s father... a man who influenced him, and many more people in his home country.
Lily van Ghemen. Photo José A. Hermosillo ©2019 Festival in LA
In a conversation I had with Luis Felipe Fernández-Salvador y Campodonico in Westwood, California - he revealed his ambitious attempt to create a new genre in cinema by producing with his own money a film of epic proportions.

Luis Felipe is a visionary artist who never went to film school. He only wanted to make an extraordinary movie about the history of his homeland and his family, and give the Ecuadorian people a well-deserved place in the world of Cinema.
José Alberto Hermosillo, Lily van Ghemen. Luis Felipe Fernández Salvador y Campodonico ©2019 Festival in LA
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