by Rick Villalobos
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Men are relentless when it comes to the women they adore. We are blinded by stupidity and a great libido. The resourceful hunters that we are, we venture in the hunt and women, well, like to be chased. A sucker is what you are; a narrow sighted buffoon with no chance of scoring. Yeah, but it beats sitting in front of the television set, gawking at an over developed video game character on screen. We can’t help it. A man will always act like an idiot for a woman. It is how the game is played and the chump is either warming the bench or counting his loses.
Directed by Simon Brand, Paraiso Travel is a film that depicts the harsh reality of the illegal immigrant in the United States. Marlon (Adelmar Correa) is in love with his girlfriend, a saucy brunette named Reina played by Angelica Blandon. Reina wants to leave Columbia and convinces a reluctant Marlon to go with her. With a flip of her hair and the shake of her hips, she makes it cross the border with the naïve Marlon by her side. Stranded in New York City, both Reina and Marlon find themselves without a plan or a cent.
This film is more than just an immigrant story. It has essence. It is a perfect example of young love and desire. The design is intense – boy runs away from his family and home for a girl (a beautiful and manipulative girl) only to encounter hardship and starvation in a strange land. Out of all the crazy things a guy will do for his gal, leaving his country to seek out something unknown is - intense. Paraiso Travel is, if anything, a right of passage story.
Direction is key here. The present and past are mixed conveniently to tell a story that is surprisingly engaging. And where direction leaves off, acting continues and done so in a tasteful way. We are guided through a world that is genuine and harsh; a world that can only be seen by the visitor. This film is a true testament of the American dream unfulfilled. That emptiness, ironically, will leave us wanting more - more of the story that seems just too familiar even for the naïve American driving a fancy car.
English dub and original Spanish version with English subtitles.
Rick Villalobos is a writer and film critic in Chicago.
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