Pantaleon y las visitadoras | Chicago Reader

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Adapted from the 1973 novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, this Spanish feature by Francisco J. Lombardi follows the upright and ultraefficient Pantaleon Pantoja (Salvador Del Solar), an officer in the Peruvian army, as he journeys to the Amazon to remedy an outbreak of rapes committed against local women by soldiers. Expert sexologists have diagnosed the overheated troops with “wild cock,” so Pantoja implements an unofficial program to supply them with prostitutes, timing their sex acts with a stopwatch and documenting his progress in bar graphs sent back to headquarters. (Despite the story's setting at the epicenter of the rubber industry, condoms are nowhere to be found.) Lombardi fails to steer this colorful material in any satiric direction or give it psychological dimension: Pantoja's emotional transformation, as he falls for one of the sultry visitors, is visualized by no more than his new smoking habit, and the film's maladroit shorthand includes orange filters to tell us just how hot it is on the Itaya River. Giovanna Pollarolo and Enrique Moncloa wrote the screenplay; in Spanish with subtitles. 137 mins.

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