The Land of the Ogres

Advertised as the first feature film made in Honduras, "The Land of the Ogres" was begun in the 1980s by the late Sami Kafati and finished by his son Ramses two years ago. Most likely to interest film archives, pic is a fierce indictment of a Latin American landowner who has the power of life and death over those around him and who knows no in-between shades.

With:
With: Jose Luis Lopez, Saul Toro, Daniel Vasquez, Marisela Bustillo, Eduardo Bahr.

Advertised as the first feature film made in Honduras, “The Land of the Ogres” was begun in the 1980s by the late Sami Kafati and finished by his son Ramses two years ago. Most likely to interest film archives, pic is a fierce indictment of a Latin American landowner who has the power of life and death over those around him and who knows no in-between shades. (The pic is appropriately lensed in black-and-white.) Showing its age and difficult production circumstances, the film is strictly of curiosity value today. It opened the Directors Fortnight without fanfare.

Rich, ruthless Don Calixto (known as “Godfather”) is the embodiment of evil. A racist who pays his starving workers little, he lecherously uses every attractive woman around as his mistress-slave. He is obsessed with possessing more and more land and is willing to kill to get it. The mayor is in cahoots with him; the local priest is powerless. Calixto’s murderous greed simply continues unabated until the end of the film. While one sympathizes with the director’s moral outrage, the tale lacks believability. Some lensing is splendidly done, other scenes look almost amateurish.

The Land of the Ogres

Directors Fortnight / Honduras-France

Production: A Sami Kafati/Ramses Kafati/Alta Loma Films co-production. (International sales: Alta Loma Films, Paris.) Produced by Sami and Ramses Kafati. Directed, written, edited by Sami Kafati.

Crew: Camera (B&W), Kafati. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors Fortnight Special Screening), May 15, 2003. Running time: 107 MIN.

With: With: Jose Luis Lopez, Saul Toro, Daniel Vasquez, Marisela Bustillo, Eduardo Bahr.

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