This is a great movie for anyone interested in Guatemala!
Garrett C. Sauve | Fort Worth, TX | 04/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I really enjoyed watching El Silencio de Neto and thought that it was an excellent movie. However, I think it takes someone who has some knowledge about Guatemalan culture and history to truly appreciate it. I have to admit that I may be biased for having lived in Guatemala for two years and having read extensively about the U.S. funded coup of 1954 that ousted Jocobo Arbenz Guzmán from power and installed the favored Carlos Castillo Armas to the presidency. This was a devastating event in Guatemalan history that some believe may have been what eventually sparked the 36 year civil war in Guatemala (1960 to 1996), possibly the bloodiest conflict in the western hemisphere during the second half of the 20th Century. Luís Argueta brings the insecurity and chaos of 1954 to life though the main character of Neto, a young boy who is struggling to break the silence with his father and express his own will. It is a powerful metaphor for Guatemala as a whole, which has only recently begun to speak up for itself after so many years of silence. It is a country that still has a long way to go. El Silencio de Neto is not a pristine movie of Hollywood quality, but this is a part of what makes it authentically Guatemalan. I highly recommend this film to anyone who has an interest in Guatemala as well as two books, Bitter Fruit by Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer and The Battle for Guatemala by Susanne Jonas. Finally, I recommend visiting Guatemala. It is a beautiful country, rich in history and culture.
Me gustó mucho ver El Silencio de Neto lo que pienso ser una película excelente. Sin embargo, creo que uno tiene que tener uno poco de conocimiento sobre la cultura y historia de Guatemala para apreciarlo verdaderamente. Tengo que admitir que soy parcial como viví en Guatemala por dos años y he leído extensivamente sobre el golpe de estado de 1954 lo que fue financiado por los Estados Unidos para quitar a Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán del poder y instalar al favorecido Carlos Castillo Armas a la presidencia. Ese evento fue desastroso en la historia de Guatemala y algunos piensan que es lo que eventualmente provocó la guerra civil en Guatemala que duró 36 años (1960 a 1996), posiblemente el conflicto más sangriento del hemisferio oeste durante la segunda mitad del Siglo 20. Luís Argueta trae a vivo la inseguridad y el caos de 1954 a través de la vida del protagonista principal de Neto, un joven luchando para quebrar el silencio con su padre y expresar su propia voluntad. Es una metáfora poderosa para Guatemala en general, un país que sólo hace poco tiempo se atreve de expresarse después de tantos años de silencio. Es un país que tiene mucho más que superar. El Silencio de Neto no es una película prístina con la calidad de Hollywood pero eso es lo que la hace auténicamente guatemalteca. La recomiendo a quienquiera que tenga interés en Guatemala y dos libros, Bitter Fruit (La Fruta Amarga) por Stephen Schlesinger y Stephen Kinzer y The Battle for Guatemala (La Batalla por Guatemala) por Susanne Jonas. También, recomiendo visitar a Guatemala. Es un país bonito con una gran riqueza de historia y cultura."
A beautiful film
Scott K. Forrey | DC area | 09/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, the DVD itself. The quality is very high--the subtitles were extremely accurate, and the documentary and director's commentary were fascinating. As a DVD it is extremely well-done. My only comment is it would be nice to see in widescreen (maybe that's an option and I couldn't find it on the menu).
Now, the film. On one level it's a glimpse into the life of a middle-class boy, his family, his crushes, school, etc., and on another an eye-opening account of the US government's shameful overthrow of the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954. It's hard to believe that it is the first feature film of Luis Argueta. It is crafted so expertly...and it is a brilliant aesthetic choice to have this story told through the eyes of the young boy. It gives the events an innocence and humor that balance the grim political realities unfolding.
Of course the images are amazing. How can they not be when as a setting you have Guatemala? We felt like we were there--near the volcano in Antigua, on some dusty roads between small towns. We thought the Ladino/Maya theme was handled very well too--not preachy or obvious, but done realistically.
This is the best movie we have seen in a long time. It beats anything coming out of the US film market these days. I am going to recommend it to anyone I talk to about film--or history--or politics.
If you've seen US-made and backed films such as El Norte and Salvador, you owe it to yourself to see a film made by Guatemelans in Guatemala. It's great cinema, period."
An excellent and moving film
Kirsten Albert | 08/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""El silencio de Neto" is a remarkable and moving film of the events of 1954 in Guatemala from a young boy's perspective. In the film Neto is a metaphor for Guatemala during this time period as he strives to breathe and speak on his own terms. As a teacher of high school Spanish, I have found this film to be an excellent way to share history, language, magic realism,and culture with students. The film is made with much tenderness and affection and the events that take place for Neto and his family in the film lead to many interesting discussions. This film is highly recommended for all with an interest in Guatemalan/Latin American culture and history! The extra features are very interesting and provide additional perspective and insight into the making of the film and the history and objectives of Luis Argueta, the film's director. Enjoy!"
It's PG Worthy!
Profesora | 05/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not only is this an awesome movie, but it would be appropriate to show in a high school. My students enjoyed it. I won't summarize it, because others already have, but I will say that this is one of the best foreign films I have seen in a long time. It is often very difficult to find films that are appropriate for adolescent viewers, but this is one!"