Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Días de Santiago 2004

Directed by Josué Méndez

Peru In Spanish with English subtitles
83 minutes 35mm / Colour and B&W

Director, Screenplay


Juan Durán


Roberto Benavides Espino


Pietro Sibille
Milagros Vidal
Marisela Puicón
Alhelí Castillo


Rotterdam, Sydney 2004


Pietro Sibille gives a superbly raw performance as a young war veteran returning to normal society in this edgy debut from the cinematic wilderness of Peru. Having spent several years in the jungle fighting terrorists, 23-year-old Santiago is ill-equipped to deal with everyday life, despite his best intentions. Seeking direction with a computer training course, he meets several young students, but his paranoid obsession with one of the girls soon spirals his life out of control. The spectre of Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle looms large: Santiago even takes to driving his dead comrade’s car as a taxi to earn money. Considerably more than Scorsese transplanted into an exotic locale, this is a film of impressive psychological complexity. A gritty mixture of film stocks, fluctuating colour and B&W photography, and rapid-fire cutting draws us into Santiago’s fractured world. — MM

“A surprisingly intense debut… Though convincingly set in the lower depths of Lima, the story embodies a universal truth about the experience of former soldiers in many times and places.” — Deborah Young, Variety