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La Gente de la Universal

Diogenes

Diogenes

Hernandez … Alvaro Rodriguez

Fabiola … Jennifer Steffens

Clemente Fernandez … Robinson Diaz

Margarita … Ana Maria Aristizabal

Gaston …Ramon Aguirre

Begona … Aitzpea Goenaga

Francois … Francois Bassile

A raunchy black comedy centered on a spitball Bogota p.i. agency, “The People at Universal” marks a lively debut by Colombian director Felipe Aljure. Tightened by some 20 minutes, especially from its discursive latter reels, pic could prove a tasty item for tube buyers and even cross over to some arthouse biz.

Film moves at a fast lick, with a cleverly worked out wheels-within-wheels plot that has everyone doing the dirty on everyone else. Central characters are the sexually insatiable trio of the Universal Detective Agency, run by ex-cop Diogenes (Alvaro Rodriguez) with his sexy wife Fabiola (Jennifer Steffens) and handsome nephew Clemente (Robinson Diaz). Clemente and Fabiola go at it like bunnies whenever the boss isn’t around.

When Diogenes is hired by a jailed Spanish mobster (Ramon Aguirre) to find out who’s sleeping with his porn-star mistress (Ana Maria Aristizabal), the sexual and financial double-crossing moves into high gear.

Playing is straight-faced but colorful, heightened by antsy camera work, a perky score and large dollops of Latin machismo and sexuality. Final reels lack verve and overdo the violence; nudity throughout is frank but natural. Performances are excellent down the line, led by Rodriguez as the simian Diogenes.

Tech credits are fine, with post-production (done in Bulgaria) up to scratch.

La Gente de la Universal

(SPANISH-COLOMBIAN-BULGARIAN)

Production: An Igeldo Zine Produkzioak (Spain)/Fotoclub-76 (Colombia)/Tchapline (Bulgaria) production, in association with Channel 4/TVE/Euskai Media. (International sales: Igeldo Zine, San Sebastian.) Produced by Angel Amigo. Executive producer, Carlos Guerrero, Manuel Arias, Kroum Manoilov. Directed by Felipe Aljure. Screenplay, Aljure, Arias, Guillermo Calle.

Crew: Camera (color), Kalo F. Berridi; editor, Antonio Perez Reina; music, Pascal Gaigne; production design , Inaki Ros; art direction, Charlotte Haeger; costume design, Luis Jairo Retrepo; sound (Dolby), Valentin Kirilov; assistant director, Rodrigo Espina. Reviewed at London Film Festival, Nov. 6, 1993. Running time: 127 MIN.

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