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Los debutantes 2003
Description: The storyline of two brothers who receive involved with a sexy stripper and her boss, the nightclub lord of Santiago, as said from three perspectives. Sexy, gritty, emotional.
Released: 13 Jun 2003 Director: Andrés Waissbluth Writers: Cristián Jiménez (collaborating writer), Julio Rojas, Andrés Waissbluth Actors: Antonella Ríos, Néstor Cantillana, Juan Pablo Miranda, Alejandro Trejo Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
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Los debutantes Reviews:

Director/writer Andrés Waissbluth worked seven years to finished this two hour movie about the crime underground in Santiago, Chile, and perhaps that is one of the reasons the resultant movie seems episodic and in need of editing. OR, maybe this is the technique of a director who shows a fine sense of movie noir storytelling.Two brothers - Silvio the elder (Néstor Cantillana) and Victor the younger (Juan Pablo Miranda) - have moved to Santiago from their home in Temuco after their parents' death and Silvio works to help Victor's education. On Victor's seventeenth birthday Silvio takes the virgin out to the clubs where he encourages Victor to lose his virginity with one of the club's stripper/prostitutes. In a tender stage Victor gotta face his nascent impotency while Silvio is out on the club floor impressing the 'owners' with his potential for hire.Silvio goes to work for the 'gang' as a bodyguard/henchman and makes nice cash to help Victor's schooling. But Victor has eyes for one of the dancers at the club called Gracia (Antonella Ríos) and starts to woo her, dropping out of school incurring Silvio's mad disappointment. Gracia just happens to be the squeeze of the club gang's leader Don Pascual (Alejandro Trejo) who is Silvio's boss! Gracia is the glue that holds this tale together as she is the paramour of Victor, Silvio, and Don Pascual and the consequences of this bizarre ménage a trois has deadly results. Through a means of re-telling the storyline through the eyes of Victor, Silvio, and Gracia we grow to understand the vulnerabilities and the cracks in every hero that let for the downfall that results.Sound like a Chilean Pulp Fiction? Well, it is and it is filmed in a brutally colorful, dark manner that contains a lot of frontal nudity (both female and male) and provocative sexual encounters. But in the end the sensual aspect of the director's vision is what drives this film, testing on the debutante virginal psyche vs the hardcore professional sex worker with success. The cast is fairly strong, especially Antonella Ríos in the demanding role of Gracia. There are enough twists and turns and replays of incidents you think you understood the first viewing but that change dramatically in impact when said through the eyes of a various character. Bordering on two hours, some judicious editing would have helped the impact of the film. In Spanish with English subtitles. Suggested for those who like the edgy movie noir style and the art of South American cinema. Grady Harp


An intriguingly bold movie weaves the seemingly effortless camerawork with some magnificent casting and an explosive soundtrack to plot the damaging results of the crime and corruption of the Santiago underworld on 2 naive young brothers from the southern town of Temuco.Film debutant Daniella Rios is the seductive erotic dancer Gracia, working in the nightclub owned by the face of the fresh mini-wave in Chilean movie production, Alejandro Trejo. The elder brother, played maturely by Nestor Cantillana, is easy convinced to become Trejo's lead henchman, after a night at the stripclub to celebrate younger brother Victor's (Juan Pablo Miranda) seventeenth birthday. From the establishing shot of this opening scene, the movie explodes into neo-noir exploration of everything the outside globe doesn't usually expect to see in this country so stereotypically conservative and catholic.Gracia's charms of seduction attract the three boys like bees to honey, although the circular narrative of the three-way fantasy romance revolves around the linear portrayal of major international drug deals between Trejo's boys and the 'Gringo', Eduardo Barril. Power relations become a vital theme, as society's outsiders merge in a mini-family. The prostitute holds an exotic spell over all the chilean boys in the film, emerging from her ambiguous position in the periphery of society, and is seen as holding the key to all three men's futures. The relationships between Trejo and Cantillana become important, as the boys' parents are conspicious by their absence (one assumes they still live in Temuco). Therefore it is Trejo, el padrino, who 'adopts' Cantillana, and effectively 'makes him' as a boy in the city. Miranda rapidly becomes the desperate outsider, as his dependency on his 'father figure', Cantillana, becomes increasingly strained by jealousy over the pretty Gracia. However, Miranda remains trapped by the constraint of still being in school - he is dependent on Cantillana, who is dependent on Trejo, for the cash to survive. Trejo, in turn, is under the thumb of the 'Gringo', and his wealth has been accumulated through drug deals and well as his strip clubs. The figure of Gracia acts as a time bomb viewed as a pretty firework, she wraps a web of beauty inside the patriarchy but the strain can only lead to one climax.As the tensions of these power relations come to head, Gracia remains ambiguously elusive. The viewer is never sure which male figure she will commit to. The movie concludes tragically and explosively in a shoot out which realigns power relations and erases half the major male protanganists. The final shot of Miranda's beaten face speeding down the PanAmericano highway is despairingly powerful. The man has been sucked in by the lure of the city's underworld, yet has lost his only visible family, and his woman, who is his only mate in the film. He has nothing. The overriding metaphors are bold and brave. This is a gangster movie in Chile. The notions of family, no sex before marriage etc, are abolished, and instead the harsh realities of the another side of Santiago's coin are displayed in all their savage glory. Trejo beats Rios brutally, Rios and Miranda create love in a cinema reel room - a whore having sex with a minor she barely knows. The 'gringos' are seen to have a financial keep over this tiny Latin American nation, but not through the copper mines, through the illegal path of drugs. Waissbluth's triumph is in his presentation of this dark underworld, which raises so many social questions, more perhaps than the record-breakingly successful Sexo Con Amor, within a slick, smooth firecracker of a film, which zone this movie firmly alongside Sexo Con Amor, Taxi Para Tres, and El chacotero Sentimental, as cinematic evidence that Chile is well and truly artistically alive and kicking in the post-transition period 15 years after the censorship of the Military Regime.


I saw this film in Santiago last summer and unfortunately it will probably not be released outside of that country. It would be interesting to watch it again with English subtitles as Chilean Spanish is notoriously hard (especially for someone like myself who left that country as a tiny kid in 1973 and grew up speaking English). At times I should have sworn the characters were speaking Italian. The film is a type of a South American ver of Pulp Fiction with three interweaving narrative strands focusing on a stripper, an inexperienced teen, and his more experienced older brother. It's no Pulp Fiction, but it's superior to most Pulp Fiction knock-offs. Juan Pablo Miranda is very convincing as the teen. Antonella Rios, who plays the stripper, would create even someone who wasn't born in Chile wish to go there. Alejandro Trejo is convincing as a gangster/strip club owner, and Anita Alvarado, a local scandal queen known as the "the Geisha of Chile", puts in a cameo as the prostitute who first deflowers the Miranda character. Only Nestor Cantillana as the older brother disappoints, not because he's a terrible actor, but because this rail-thin pretty-boy is woefully miscast as a tough-guy bodyguard. Still, check it out if you receive a chance.



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