'What Your Eyes Don't See' - Worth The Effort
Sparky | Ventura, CA USA | 04/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a tough film for me get started. In fact I ended up restarting it twice before I made my way into it. The opening seen features two old Peruvian men lying in their hospital beds watching a television news report about a Peruvian government official snared in a video taped bribery transaction and arguing from polemic sides of the Peruvian political spectrum about the future political fallout from this story. Huh!?! Uh, what? Que?
Yeah, ok, and then from THERE the story gets a bit more complex (Oh, great). You see the news report they are watching is of an actual Peruvian historical event. It concerns a scandal which eventually resulted in the downfall of recent former El Presidente, Fujimori (Sorry, but not surprisingly, his first name escapes me.) (And yes, that's Fujimori, a man of Japanese decent who became president of Peru.)
OK, so am I going to have to get out my laptop and have Google and Wikipedia on standby just to make it though this picture? The pleasant and really quite relieving answer is actually, No. Even someone with just a puny American mind like me was able to follow the story quite easily once I finally got my head around what I was watching.
Again, if it seems to start moving a bit too fast at the onset, just start it over and it will start to sink in.
Now, I'm an American, of course. And as such I, of course, have only very limited knowledge of Peruvian politics. Actually I suppose having even very limited knowledge of Peruvian politics might qualify me as a scholar on the subject in some circles. So, here's what you need to know. There was once a man named Fujimori who was president of Peru. He and some (or it seems many) of his fellow politicians and government officials were in fact crooks who gave and took all sorts of bribes and stashed away huge sums of money in Swiss bank accounts. Now this doesn't take much imagination, just sort of relate it to Watergate or Iran-Contra or The S&L scandal or that latest Brit thing; the Cash for Honors deal or whatever they call it. In any case, the action here just happens to take place in Lima, Peru.
So now that we have that out of the way, let's watch the movie! And from here on out, it's really not so difficult to follow, and truthfully it's a very well made film with a fascinating story to reveal. And if you have any interest in taking a peek into a distant and really somewhat unknown culture, well that's just another perk.
The best way I can think of to describe how the film is laid out is to compare it to the Watergate film, 'All The Presidents Men'. As in that film, you have a series of actual events unfolding throughout the film which are being narrated by news bulletins coming from television sets and radios which just happen to be turned on in various scenes. However, unlike 'All The Presidents Men', 'Ojos Que No Ven' (What Your Eyes Don't See) doesn't follow a couple of newsmen as they uncover the story; instead it covers the stories of several differing groups of people affected by these political events. Some in politics, some who are not. There's a shady private lawyer with a penchant for school girls, a school girl (imagine that) who splits her time between caring for her sick grandfather, playing the flute and trying to get her father out of jail, a couple of old coots who lie in their hospital beds and argue about politics 24/7, a couple of right wing thugs, a left wing anthropologist and his wife, a suicidal Army Colonel, a newscaster obsessed with his appearence and a few more.
Some of these people interact, and some do not. The film is a fascinating slice of Peruvian life and at the same time a universally human story. You don't need to be overly concerned about completely understanding the particular political scandal being presented in order to understand and enjoy the film. In the end the film is just about people. People who are really perhaps not so different as you might imagine, even though they live in a place called Peru.
Oh yeah, and yes, there ARE English subtitles. In fact, I used them myself.