27 February, 2009

European cinema, a cool breeze in Colombia

In most Latin American countries, right after the movies from Hollywood that take over the theaters normally with “blockbusters” all year round, come the European movies, which are seen in the region mostly as “art cinema”, although they naturally not always are.

In Colombia, for instance, some of the local distributors give special attention to European titles, trying to keep bringing to cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, mostly, those titles that get prizes in festival or else the best box-offices in their home countries. Pantalla Colombia, the weekly newsletter that informs all about movies in Colombia, has brought up this month some statistics on the European features that had the highest box offices in the country last year.

On the top of the list, comes “El Orfanato” (Mexico-Spain), the debut of Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, which conquered almost 500 thousand viewers. Right after it, but far in terms of spectators, comes “La Môme” (France-UK-Czech Republic), from French filmmaker Olivier Dahan, with almost 65 thousand viewers. With similar numbers, around 31 and 35 thousand viewers, come “Die fälscher” (Austria-Germany), from Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky, “Le scaphandre et le papillon” (France-USA), from American director Julian Schnabel, and “The other Boleyn girl” (UK-USA), from English director Justin Chadwick.

The numbers are actually low, but actually not poor if one thinks on Colombia’s normal film statistics, which reveal that less than 2,5 million people go to the movies (according to Pantalla Colombia again). The important thing is: Europe seems the only one to bring a “cool breeze” for Colombians who look for non-bad-Hollywood kind of cinema (no need to talk about cinephilia here). The statistics for Colombian or Latin American movies are even lower in the country.

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