7 Boxes (Juan Carlos Maneglia, Tana Schembori, 2012): Paraguay
Reviewed by Reyes Munoz. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (2013), Metro 4 Theater.
7 Boxes (2012) is by far the funniest, most twisted dark comedy I have ever seen. This film is so disgustedly funny that I found myself wondering at time whether I should laugh or express a look of concern. This is probably what made this film different and enjoyable. This crime-thriller-comedy is filled with many memorable moments that I will gladly mention throughout this review. First off, this film is quite unique considering that it comes staright out of Paraguay, a country that is not necessarily know for producing films or even submitted any of them in a film festival so this on its own is quite an experience.
The story takes place during a hot and sweltering Friday in a crowded urban hub that “houses chaotic mazes of commercial vendors’ stalls hawking everything from fruit, vegetables and garments to pirated DVDs and cell phones.” Victor is a poor 17 year old wheelbarrow carter whose ultimate goal in this story is to own a cellphone with a camera and video recording capabilities. The only thing keeping him from obtaining this goal is the expensive price tag on one of these gadgets. Nonetheless, Victor continues to work hard as he dreams about his cell phone. Everything seems to be going just fine for Victor in this crowded and chaotic marketplace until he is made an offer he can not refuse. A mysterious man offers Victor $100, which is a lot in Paraguay and just enough for Victor to buy his cell phone, to transport seven boxes to an undisclosed location on the outskirts of the market. Victor accepts and runs off with the boxes on his wheelbarrow. Of course competition for this sort of work is fierce and what the man doesn’t tell Victor is what’s in those boxes and the fact that he had already called for someone else to transport them who appears to be running late. The other wheelbarrow carter sees him and decides to chase after him and steal his boxes. This sets Victor into a wild cat and mouse chase throughout the market the entire day. Throughout the chase Victor has to dodge other carters, police officers, thieves, and a pesky friend who won’t leave him alone. Eventually Victor finds out what is in those boxes: the body parts of a dead women. Immediately his life is put in danger as the other carters have teamed up and offered a reward for bringing those boxes back which thy think contain a big sum of money. Now Victor isn’t just facing one other rival but 10 who happen to be heavily armed. Eventually the carters, the police, his sister, his friend, and a group of kidnapper-business men all catch up to Victor in the climactic scene where a shootout takes place. Victor survives and the shooting is recorded on a cell phone which is then broadcast throughout the news channels. This is a very funny film and I highly recommend it.