Sunday, August 8, 2010

César Charlone & Enrique Fernández - El Baño del Papa aka The Pope's Toilet (2007)

In 1988 the Pope made a journey to South America, getting as far as Melo, a down-at-heel little town near the border with Brazil, where he was to address a mass meeting of the faithful. A frenzied media imagines how many thousands of people will pour in to attend, especially more affluent folk from over the border. And this gives the townspeople an idea. These pilgrims will want to eat, won't they? And drink, and buy souvenirs, toys, sweets... What an opportunity! Foremost among these budding once-in-a-life time entrepreneurs is an affable bunch of small time smugglers, family men all, who fetch things like soap and batteries over the border by night on their bikes for the local shop. Beto is their leader, feckless and likeable, with a sensible wife and bright daughter who has ambitions to leave the town and become a journalist rather than her mapped out fate of going to ‘sewing school'. While the rest of the town go crazy on chorizo-making, baking, blowing up balloons, building barbecues, buying up sugar for candy floss, Beto hits on the best idea yet - a public toilet outside his house.
Never mind that he has to bring back first a door, then a toilet bowl on his bike from over the border, he's soon training up his wife and daughter to welcome the customers and dish out measured amounts of paper and make sure no one lingers too long in the services. Grainy, realist-style cinematography contribute to the feel of hard lives lived nevertheless with dry humour and many sweet moments of pleasure. When things go other than to plan, it's truly hurtful to see good people uplifted and dashed down again by the whim of the wider world.

no pass no subs