LarcoMar is among the most beautiful shopping centers I have ever visited. It is sleek and modern, high end, and carved into the side of a cliff. What’s that you say? “Don’t be crazy, Jessica. Who carves a shopping center into a cliff side?”
I’m telling you: Peru does. They do it and they do it well, so well that when you drive by, all you can see is the simple green park located above the shopping center, bowling alley, cinema, and restaurants. I didn’t even notice the cave-like entrance to the parking garage when we arrived—good thing Ivo was driving.
The view from the edge of the mall’s borders was spectacular, as you might expect. But we had no time to admire it! Instead, we half jogged past the beautiful (also, expensive looking) shops to the cinema, where we spent the next two hours watching the latest Peruvian box office hit.
The phrase “asu mare” is something I hear with GREAT frequency. Technically, I believe it’s a corruption of “a su madre”, or “to your mother.” Not technically, it basically translates to “holy cow!” (That would be the PG-13 translation)
The film, though, is not something you see very often. It has shattered box office records in Peru: It had the biggest opening day ever. In its first week, it sold 1 million tickets–the fastest a film in Peru has ever sold that number of tickets. It has now surpassed what was originally the most watched movie of all time in Peru (randomly Ice Age 4?) with 2.34 million viewers. Although I did watch the film in Spanish–meaning I understood roughly 70% of the punchlines–I’ll still vouch for this one. It earned those numbers.
The plot follows the life of Carlos Alcántara aka “Cachín,” and circles around the influence of his mother. Cachín, who is now a well known stand up comedian, grew up in a tough neighborhood surrounded by the love of friends and family, went through a rough patch in life, and then discovered (essentially via a montage) his gift in acting. What makes this movie remarkable though, is not necessarily its complexity: It’s that it suddenly, to my absolute joy, in a cinematic world that often seems dominated by CGI and poor writing, is a pure and fantastic celebration of the classic art of storytelling.
Compounding this, of course, is the character of Cachín himself. He is very relatable, even for me coming from the States. All the pressures of growing up, of striving to be a success even while doors are (sometimes literally, in his case as a salesman) slammed in your face. The conclusion, as all of his experiences come together to form a meaningful career, evades the risk of seeming shallow due to his sincerity as an actor and the fact that this is his own, true story.
Reports indicate this movie will be making its way to the States: if so, I obviously recommend you go see it. Though I doubt it will have the same success (it was released here for Mother’s Day, and features settings most Peruvian viewers are familiar with), it is still a fun, family-friendly film that’s an emotional relief from the usual array of slapstick animation and explosions.
After our experience, Ivo and I stopped at the Café Café (the joke here is that “coffee” in Spanish is “café”). It was evening, but I have a photo of the balcony below, so you can get a sense of the view. The coffee, as you might guess, was excellent, especially for a cool evening with a chill ocean breeze.