Twenty-three year old Santiago returns home from the Peruvian army ill-prepared to cope with the realities of life. Haunted by his violent military past, he is conflicted by his desire for education and his temptation to ... more »join his comrades in a decadent life of crime. Unofficial synopsis (from Seattle Film Festival): Think Taxi Driver in Peru. A 23-year-old war veteran returns to Lima after spending six years fighting terrorists, the Peruvian drug mafia, and a nationalist war against Ecuador. Unable to smoothly transition back home, his life starts to spin out of control.« less
"Saw this at the Latin American Film Festival in Providence, RI last year (2005) and was blown away. Beautifully crafted from scene to scene and keeps building until the last, excruciating scene. I can tell you that everyone in the theater was holding their breath when the film ended and let out one huge sigh! No one got up to leave for a couple of minutes - very powerful. Kudos to a great film maker."
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in Peru
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Peruvian writer/director Josue Mendez has made a brave little low budget film that deals with a subject currently burgeoning our hospitals in this country as the fallout of the war on Iraq and still plagues the veterans of the Vietnam War - Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (aka Battle Rattle). This is a difficult topic to dramatize without being preachy or maudlin, but Mendez has succeeded where others have failed.
Santiago (Pietro Sibille) is a 23-year-old retired veteran who was conscripted at age 16 and trained to be a killer - assigned to fighting in the war against Ecuador, against terrorists, and against the drug mafia. He returns to his family in Lima a damaged, broken, paranoid misfit who tries to leave his military past behind but mentally returns to it as the only time he felt important. Unable to work he finally begins to drive a taxi and encounters all manner of passengers - wealthy men, girls on the party circuit, disreputable people of all types. He tries desperately to adjust to the post-military life, but find his family in shambles, a wholly dysfunctional unit to which he can no longer relate. How he finds his 'place' in this chaos is the subject of Mendez' story (Mendez has based this on a true story/stories and knows his subject well).
Pietro Sibille as Santiago delivers a credible performance, one that consistently borders on fragmentation of a mind deeply scarred by war and fighting. The remainder of the cast is fine. Mendez uses a mixture of black and white film with color segments and this is distracting to annoying: if the choices of film related consistently to a tenor in the story (which is not the case) then this technique could be considered artistic.
The manner in which the story is related is very much in keeping with the fragmented and paranoid mindset of Santiago and for this the director is to be commended for successfully achieving the next to impossible! Many strong points to a film that is flawed by technical problems. Grady Harp, December 05"
Antonio Palacios | Perú | 06/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After five years, a man returns from the war. He was acoustomed to a militar life, he was used to patrol, to hide, to kill. But the conflict stoped and he had to return. But he doesn't know how to live and act, how to interact with people in a caotic city without rules and order.
Santiago tries to put his own rules in this new life. He see the city as a new war, and he to transport his fears to this place. In his mind he's constantly living a nightmare, he's something like a savior in the city, a man who has to act when injustice comes. Santiago tries to fit in Lima, but he's still trapped in his own mental war. Is interesting the way the director has emulate this mental disorder and fragmentation using abrupt cuts, film textures and hand camera shots.
I'm from Peru and let me tell you, Josué Mendez first opus is one of the best movies produced in this country. The awards given to "Dias de Santiago" are the proof that we are in front of a masterpiece. Give it a try, you'll be hooked from beginning to end..."
booktalk29 | 12/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Días de Santiago" es una de las mejores películas que he visto. Después de luchar por su patria, Santiago regresa a Perú y le da cuenta que la vida allí es difícil y extraño. Le queda toda la tensión de la guerra, y él no puede dormir mucho. Por eso, poco a poco se pone furioso con las reglas estrictas, la pobreza y la estupidez de los jóvenes de Perú. La guerra lo ha transformado, y él no es la misma persona que antes. Busca trabajo; le es difícil encontrarlo. Las escenas distinctas de esta película te van a fascinar. Por ejemplo, Santiago y su mujer van a una tienda para comprar un refrigerador para su casa; Santiago le dice al vendedor que acaba de luchar por su patria, y ahora ha regresado a su país. No le basta al vendedor, y él le pregunta a Santiago qué trabajo tiene su mujer; ella se sienta al lado de Santiago. Santiago se pone furioso; él luchó por su patria--él es un hombre y él mismo puede pagar la cuenta. Santiago y su mujer salen de la tienda y buscan su coche. Él no puede controlarse y la golpea. Esta película nos muestra lo difícil que es llevar las cargas de guerra. Santiago es fuerte y inteligente, pero los imágenes de guerra todavía le molestan. No importa si usted es peruano, italiano o estadounidense, debe mirar esta película."
Coming home . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 02/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Disturbing, thoughtful, and well-performed film from Peru about a young combat veteran, Santiago, who returns to his home in the city, where he struggles with the effects of PTSD and hope for a meaningful life slowly dwindles. While a group of fellow veterans plan a bank robbery, using the skills they were taught as Navy Seals, Santiago tries unsuccessfully to get some education, while driving a taxi to make ends meet.
Relationships with the women in his life are clumsy and self-conscious, partly because he has not had a chance to develop the needed social skills and partly because of the hyper-vigilance learned as a soldier that makes him mistrustful of everyone. A disabled friend commits suicide, and his dysfunctional family, fraught with episodes of domestic violence, offers no stability for him either. Meanwhile, time slowly begins to run out for him. It's a glimpse into a desperate life all to common for veterans of modern combat."