We all know about the Latin American Boom, yes? The Latino literary wave of the 1960s and 1970s gave us writers like Julio Cortázar, Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, and Mario Vargas Llosa. Rightfully, it is now a high school staple in countries like Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru, where those iconic writers were born and where many of their stories take place. But what of countries like Ecuador, for example, which don’t have a Boom author to help them make sense of their recent history, either with magical realist tales or intricately-plotted existential allegories? Well, if you’re filmmaker Javier Izquierdo, you make one up.
His latest mockumentary, Un secreto en la caja (A Secret in the Box) wants to school you about Marcelo Chiriboga (1933-1990), who, according to Izquierdo, wrote three bestselling novels that would help shape Ecuador’s self-image in the second half of the twentieth century. Using archival footage (some of it quite obviously staged), interviews with Chiriboga’s sister, as well as snippets from his own work, Izquierdo’s doc wants to imagine a world-renowned Ecuadorian writer if only to discuss his own country’s current state. In that, A Secret in the Box becomes a cinematic heir to those Boom novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Death of Artemio Cruz.
The latest trailer for the film leaves much of this obscured, however, opting instead to offer a kaleidoscopic look at the archival images that make up much of the film. Check it out in full below.