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Our Lady of the Assassins (2000)

Cast: German Jaramillo, German Jaramillo, Anderson Ballesteros, more...
Director: Barbet Schroeder, Barbet Schroeder
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Gay & Lesbian, Latin America, Features
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: Spanish
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

A middle-aged man wanting to revisit the city of his birth discovers time and corruption have taken a terrible toll in this drama. Fernando (German Jaramillo) is a successful gay writer who was born in Medellín, Colombia, but has lived in Europe for the past 30 years. Feeling jaded and uninspired, Fernando decides to return to Colombia after the death of his sister, who was the last surviving member of his immediate family. Fernando remembers the Medellín of his youth as a beautiful place, but now the city is the capital of the international drug trade, and crime and urban sprawl have made it a harsh and dangerous place to live. At a party, Fernando meets Alexis (Anderson Ballesteros), a member of a teenage street gang. The two soon strike up a friendship, as Fernando tries to show Alexis what's left of the city he once knew, and Alexis teaches Fernando the grim realities of life and death on the streets. Fernando and Alexis become lovers, but despite their affection for each other, Fernando does not fully understand the dangerous and volatile nature of life in the new Medellín, which leads him into grave danger. La Virgen de los Sicarios was written for the screen by Fernando Vallejo, based on his novel. Director Barbet Schroeder shot the film on location in Medellín, using a digital video camera in order to speed up production in the notoriously dangerous city. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

reminiscent of City of God... except that it sucks horribly by alexjb April 11, 2006 - 12:06 AM PDT
0 out of 2 members found this review helpful
there are two themes - an older man dealing with feelings of loss as the people and city that he loved die, and the mindset of street teens in Columbia who've become completely inured to gunplay and murder. both of these themes have merit; neither is explored well in this film.

the camerawork is straight out of a Spanish-cable-channel soap opera, as is the scene flow. 90% of the film is Fernando (the older guy) spouting half-baked theories on his life, why everything sucks, and how stuff ought to be. but his monologues lack both wit, depth, and significance, making me wonder why i kept reading the subtitles.

there's some gay romance (which is sort of trying to be actual *romance*), but i think that in 90 minutes, i only saw two guys kiss one single time. there's plenty of teen boy eye candy, though- is that 'gay romance' ?

the two young leads act terribly and couldn't emote their way out of a paper bag; their performance drags the older actor's down as well, or maybe he was just bored out of his skull.

there are some bizarre and implausible plot twists about 3/4 in; the alledged romance veers even further into creepy sugar-daddy/chicken-hawk territory, and finally the whole ends up in an unecessarily graphic and morbid ditch.

Riveting and scandalous by fisherjg July 1, 2003 - 3:16 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
I was horrified and mesmerized simultaneously by this fantastic story of love and loss. The director Barbet Schroeder recounts the return to Columbia of writer Fernando Vallejo after a three decade absence to seek out his own death. He meets and falls in love with an adolescent assassin, Alexis -wonderfully potrayed by Anderson Ballesteros, a real street kid from Medellin. The movie is based on the novel by Fernando Vallejo (La Virgen de los Sicarios). Incredibly moving and scandalous. The film illustrates that life has lost all value in Medellin where street thugs commit remorseless motorcycle drive-bys against rival gangs. Thugs pray in church that their bullets will hit their intended target. The kid, Alexis, puts a cap in a Taxi driver over a simple argument about the volume of the radio and nearly offs a waitress for giving bad service yet he is unable to 'put down' a paralysed dog they have found in a gutter. As you can see by the other reviews you will either love it or hate it. If you can look past the same-sex autumn/spring relationship you will be moved as much as I was. Rent it!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.31)
110 Votes
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