Cramming all Chile's political woes into one family get-together isn't the subtlest way to tackle the country's still festering wounds, but that's precisely the path Luis R. Vera takes in the overstuffed "Fiestapatria." Obvious and far-too-polemical, this Dogma-inspired uber-drama wants to tackle class, ethnic and gender tensions alongside the residue of years of military dictatorship, but with each participant standing in for a POV, the pic devolves into a collection of cardboard characters. Local play will set off debate, but fests may be the sole takers further afield.

Cramming all Chile’s political woes into one family get-together isn’t the subtlest way to tackle the country’s still festering wounds, but that’s precisely the path Luis R. Vera takes in the overstuffed “Fiestapatria.” Obvious and far-too-polemical, this Dogma-inspired uber-drama wants to tackle class, ethnic and gender tensions alongside the residue of years of military dictatorship, but with each participant standing in for a POV, the pic devolves into a collection of cardboard characters. Local play will set off debate, but fests may be the sole takers further afield.

To celebrate the engagement of daughter Macarena (Adela Secall) to Alvaro (Tiago Correa), former military officer Antonio (Nelson Brodt) and sullen wife Isabel (Marcela Osorio) organize a weekend house party coinciding with independence day. When Alvaro’s uncle Ernesto (Patricio Contreras) reveals that Isabel was a former leftist political prisoner, all sorts of secrets rise, like noxious gases, to the surface. A subplot about Antonio’s abandoned daughter Lorena (Katty Kowaleczko) adds more weight to an already ponderous story, piled high with maltreated indigenous maids, duplicity and overall hypocrisy. Brownish, washed-out tonalities and an over-reliance on handheld camerawork don’t help lighten the load.

Fiestapatria

Chile-Peru

Production

A Corfo, Programa Ibermedia, with the participation of TVE presentation of a Luis R. Vera Producciones production, in association with Trinacrio, Filmosonido, Cinesur (Chile)/Inca Cine (Peru). Produced by Luis R. Vera. Executive producers, Luis R. Vera, Gustavo Sanchez. Directed, written by Luis R. Vera.

Crew

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Alfredo Garcia Vera; editors, Carlos Ruz, Luis R. Vera; music, Daniel Gassols; production designer, Alfonso Machuca; costume designer, Cristina Villar. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Discovery), May 2, 2007 (Also in San Sebastian Film Festival.) Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Adela Secall, Nelson Brodt, Marcela Osorio, Tiago Correa, Rosa Ramirez, Tatiana Astengo, Patricio Contreras, Sergio Hernandez, Maricarmen Arrigorriaga, Katty Kowaleczko, Carmen Dissa Gutierrez, Alex Zisis, Fernando Larrain, Alfonso Santistevan, Daniel Munoz, Heidrun Breier, Roxana Campos, Andres Perez, Viviana Herrera.

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