10 February 2010
Movie Review: Vereda Tropical
I really had never heard of Manuel Puig and yet, I have heard of his work. This was long on my list to watch, only because it had been recommended by a computer algorithm that determined I'd like it 3.5 out of 5.
So let me tell you about Manuel Puig. Born in Argentina. He traveled a bit and moved to Brazil. He left permanently in the early 1970s seeing the rise of right-wing Peronista nut-jobs and dictators on the horizon. He apparently spent some time in Brazil just before heading off the Mexico. This story takes place in that small period. Because he was able to foresee the persecution and escape the evil before it had ascending into a ruling, autonomous position within Argentinian society, we don't get the literary torture that Reinaldo Arenas' life showed in Before Night Falls. In fact, until I read some reviews of the movie and his life, I saw the movie as depressing and aimless.
Having read more about his life, I now see that in fact, something went terribly wrong in his life when he left Argentina. His work lost its life. And unfortunately for Puig, "no claims were ever made that the angel [who came for Jacob], too came away with a limp." Jung (MDR 344)
And unfortunately I didn't like the movie because I didn't find anything redeeming or forewarning about Puig's life -- or lack thereof. "I cannot blame the person who takes to his heels at once. But neither can I approve his finding merit in his weakness and cowardice. Since my contempt can do him no further harm, I may as well say that I find nothing praiseworthy about such capitulations." (MDR 345)