Jacabo Morales and the Decline of Puertorican Cinema

Along with archetypical villains, an over-simplified plot structure and a score which literally destroys any dramatic tension, Jacobo Morales’s film Ángel simply does not live up to the reputation of its film maker. The characters are consistently static with the exception of Yamaris Latorre’s character, the reporter Julia Norat. Even the filmmaker’s use of product placement (an obvious necessity to acquire funds) is so obvious it interrupts the viewing experience. Jacobo needs to stop trying to emulate Hollywood, embrace his limited funds (“Clerks” is a cult classic and it had a $25,000 budget), get some new actors, and return to a time when a solid plot meant more than “impressive” visuals. The film almost looks as if Don Jacobo was making a “cine” project for Filmmaking 101.

Yet despite all of this the film was still considered for submission to the Academy Awards in a voting by the Puertorican Film Corporation. As a matter of fact, despite the lackluster nature of the film, I find few negative reviews. I understand that the country is desperate to find a cinematic voice with which to speak and that Jacobo is perhaps our best representative in the genre but this should not render us incapable of criticism.

~ by Alberto Ramos Cordero on November 1, 2007.

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