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Ecuador Movies: “El Pescador” (The Fisherman)

A combination of  fresh snow, the flu and temps of 15 below led to my channel surfing in St. Paul while awaiting the birth of our third grandchild.  I found an intriguing spanish-speaking film called “El Pescador,” but since we hadn’t signed up to view the Latino stations, I was unable to watch it.

Today while researching the Ecuador news scene, I discovered that the film is Ecuadorian.  It’s based on true events in 2006 that unfolded in El Matal, a tiny fishing village on the coast of Ecuador in the province of Manabi.

Gary and I have been to El Matal several times to visit friends in the area, never dreaming that a drug drama had unfolded there.  Drug smugglers being chased by police were forced to dump their illicit cargo in the ocean.

Boxes of water-tight packages of cocaine washed ashore and were found by astonished, perhaps delighted, fishermen.

“El Pescador” took top honors in the 2012 Guadalajara International Film Festival in Mexico, for both Best Film and Best Actor.  It also won Best Film in the 2012 Cartegena Film Festival.

Director Sebastian Cordero has now made 4 films.  His film, “Ratas, Ratones, Rateras” was nominated for a Goya award and he also directed “Rabia.”

In real life, one of the fishermen who recovered the cocaine sold it and made a grand tour of Ecuador, in the company of a Colombian prostitute. It’s a light movie because the director chose to focus on the main character’s story and not on the drug scene. One reviewer calls it part road movie and part absurdist comedy.

Another review.

The film does call to mind an increasing drug problem in Ecuador. An article by Irene Caselli of Quito which appeared in the BBC news, reports that Ecuador, which is sandwiched between Peru and Colombia, both major cocaine exporters, is used as a major point of transport for drugs to the United States and Europe.

Last year in Milan Italian police found 88 pounds of cocaine in a diplomatic pouch from Ecuador. It was sent to an artist named Christian Loor.

The pouch had been inspected by Quito drug authorities before it left Ecuador. Supposedly, the government of Ecuador was attempting to help Loor’s theater promote tourism in Ecuador.  That kind of help would have definitely taken Loor out of the ‘starving artist’ category.

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