Laudable as a portrait of Latin American engineering and scientific progress, Peruvian production designer-writer-director Augusto Tamayo’s “Crossing a Shadow” is dull and creaky as dramatic storytelling. Based on the 1973 novel — written by the director’s father — about Enrique Aet (Diego Bertie) and his successful efforts to build Peru’s first telecommunications system, the pic reminds viewers why many filmgoers dislike costume drama. For all of its lavish production values, this studied and bland pic will turn off much of world beyond a few Latin American niches.
Aet is assigned to survey the Amazon jungle for overland roads and bridges, but, after he’s injured in an accident, a local gal (Nidia Bermejo) seduces him and has his child. Reassigned to Lima, Aet is prevented by circumstances from marrying fiance Doris (Vanesa Saba), but a trip to study in Europe inspires him to pitch the government on his telecom idea. While Aet is meant to rep Peruvian progress despite the odds (including his bitter rival Jose, badly played by Carlos Carlin), his brother Oswaldo (Gonzalo Molina), a labor organizer, symbolizes the failures of workers against their bosses.