ALSINO AND THE CONDOR
Nicaragua, 1982, 89 minutes, Colour.
Dean Stockwell, Alan Esquivel, Carmen Bunster.
Directed by Miguel Littin.
Alsino and the Condor is a Nicaraguan film reflecting the political stances and anti-American attitudes after the Sandinista revolution against President Somoza in 1979. The film highlights the quality of Latin American film-making and production.
The film is a realistic look at the situation in Nicaragua - and an allegory of what has happened to the people. The film focuses on a small boy who would like to fly like a condor but who is maimed. An ironic condor comes in the form of an American military helicopter.
Dean Stockwell has a central role as an American military adviser. The film takes a grim look at the role of such military advisers and the training of Nicaraguan troops in the United States. This focuses on the role of the Contras in Nicaragua during the 1980s.
From an American perspective critical of events in Central America audiences might find Oliver Stone's Salvador an interesting comparison.
1. The work of Central American film-makers? Talent? Issues and perspectives?
2. Nicaragua and its Sandinista viewpoint, the film for a Nicaraguan audience, for world-wide audiences including the United States? Political statement? A humanitarian statement?
3. The use of Nicaraguan locations, the re-creation of battles? Authentic? Latin- American score?
4. A picture of realism in the way of life of ordinary farmers and villagers in Nicaragua? The village, families, simplicity of lifestyle, work, the children?
5. The war and its effect? The hovering helicopters, the soldiers, invasion, destruction of crops, the killing of the innocent, the women at the river?
6. Alsino and his place in the village, his relationship with his grandmother, her wisdom? His girlfriend? The dream of the condor, his wanting to fly? Climbing the tree and falling? The second flight and his being hurt, his injuries, hunchback? His vision? His going to the city, the prostitutes? The encounter with the Americans, going in the helicopter - the condor? Alsino as symbolic of young people in Nicaragua?
7. The American advisers, their presence, gung-ho attitudes, militaristic stances, training? Attitudes towards the Nicaraguan officials, disdain? Relationships with each other? Anger, drinking? Away from home?
8. Their search and destroy missions, the helicopters, finding the children in the trees, the children's terror, interrogation? The photo of the adviser at the helicopter with the children? The survey of the landscapes of Nicaragua from the ironic condor?
9. A blend of allegory and realism about Nicaragua in the 1980s?