PANAMA — “Kenke,” a popular term for marihuana in Panama, is the name of Enrique Perez Him’s comic morality tale that was chosen as one of five films put forward for the IFF Panama’s Primera Mirada for works in progress.
Written by Perez Him, “Kenke” is a comedy set in contemporary Panama that revolves around Kenny, an adolescent loser and loner who carries a candle for his high-school class beauty. When trying to score some ganja in a black neighborhood, he gets arrested in a police sting. Josué, his supposed big-shot businessman cousin, is drafted to wean Kenny off weed, to save him from having to serve time in a correctional center. Trouble is, Josue’s also partial to marijuana and other distractions.
The film lays out some of the double standards operating in Panamanian society, and their various addictions, especially amongst the country’s growing middle class families, who are likely to make up a large part of the film’s target audience when it is released.
Although set in Panama City, “Kenke” is worldly enough in its outlook and language to appeal to other audiences in Latin America that recognize the characters and the underlying hypocrisy that Perez Him holds up to the mirror.
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Perez Him’s first feature, “Puro Mula,” won the Latinoamerica Primer Corte Award at the Havanna Film Festival in 2011. He also directed the documentary “Chas in the City.”