It’s finally here. The much-anticipated project that made Chilean cinema an international trending topic over the last year has released an extended trailer for us mere mortals to bask in its A-list, box office-bait glory. And while J-Lo was sadly unable to bring her world-renowned attributes to the production due to scheduling conflicts, we still have Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kate del Castillo and a whole boatload of other visually pleasing non-Chilean actors to convince us that the official language in Chile is actually a heavily-accented English.
The movie in question, of course, is Los 33 (The 33): a feel-good drama about Chile’s 2010 Copiapó mining disaster that exalts the triumph of the human will, optimism in the face of adversity, and all those reassuring ideas that have made Hollywood the world’s dream factory for the past 100 or so years. Produced by American film magnate, Mike Medavoy (Apocalypse Now), Los 33 is helmed by Mexican director Patricia Riggen of Bajo la misma luna (Under the Same Moon) fame, and was shot primarily in the town of Nemocón, Colombia — making the film about as Chilean as a plate of tacos al pastor. Either way, beleaguered ex-president Sebastián Piñera will certainly be pleased to have his legacy solidified by the film’s glorified portrayal of his shining moment on the world stage (think of it as Piñera’s equivalent of Obama’s Bin Laden kill.)
In the film, Banderas will be playing miner Mario “Super Mario” Sepúlveda, who served as a sort of spokesperson for the trapped miners during their 69-day ordeal, sending regular videos of the miners’ daily existence up to the surface to keep hope alive while the government scrambled to extract them. The trailer reveals Los 33’s Dante’s Peak-worthy special effects, complete with tumbling boulders and rapidly expanding dust clouds. But while it all may seem a bit over the top and, well… 90’s, we can only imagine the effects come nowhere near expressing the terror lived by the flesh and blood miners at the moment of the 121-year-old copper gold mine’s collapse. Visually, the shadowy, high contrast cinematography has all the professionalism and gloss of its Hollywood cast, while the acting seems to tend more toward melodrama and big emotions rather than the subtle psychological tension that likely characterized the true events.
Still, Los 33 makes no bones about its intentions, and whether or not it’s your cup of tea, we can be certain that the film is competently written and executed. Perhaps more interesting than the film itself, however, is the hybrid Hollywood-Latin American production model that could be just a taste of things to come for the future of international filmmaking.
A date has not been set for the U.S. release but is slated for late 2015.