Luis Argueta's sophomore feature, "Collect Call," reunites the writer-director with the star (Oscar Almengor) of his prize-winning debut "The Silence of Neto."

Luis Argueta’s sophomore feature, “Collect Call,” reunites the writer-director with the star (Oscar Almengor) of his prize-winning debut “The Silence of Neto.” But what begins as a potentially interesting docudrama, about what has happened to Oscar (or Neto, as he is still known in his small Guatemalan village) in the eight years between the two films, rapidly degenerates into a hapless satire about how Oscar is taken advantage of and, eventually, corrupted in New York City.

After saving up money for a plane ticket to the Big Apple, Oscar (“cast” as himself) contacts Argueta (played by Jorge Pupo), who agrees to help Oscar try to launch his acting career in NYC. But when Oscar shows up on Argueta’s doorstep, Argueta is out of town shooting a commercial and Oscar is taken in by Argueta’s girlfriend (Karen Contreras) and chauffeur (Shan Chingete De La Rue), who promise to show Oscar the ropes, but really just want to bleed him dry before making him party to their scam-artistry. Intended as social critique, pic’s notions about Manhattan living and the resourcefulness of immigrants veer from the passably naive to the offensively outlandish.

Collect Call

Production

A Morningside Movies presentation. Produced by Ken Lewin. Executive producer, Luis Argueta. Directed by Luis Argueta. Screenplay, Argueta, Ken Lewin.

Crew

Camera (color, digital video), Alejandro Castillo Close; editor, Ezequiel Sarudiansky; music, Igor de Gandarias. Reviewed on videocassette, L.A., June 10, 2002. (In CineVegas Film Festival -- Diamond Discovery.) Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Oscar Almengor, Homero Mendez, Claudia Mendez, Laurita Mendez, Dylan Mendez, Rosa Mendez, Abuelita Mendez, Patty Mendez, Priscilla Mendez, Moises Mendez, Karen Contreras, Shan Chingete De La Rue, Jorge Pupo.
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