Our Lady of the Assassins
dir. Schroeder
Opens Fri Sept 14
Cinema 21

The most profound statement in Our Lady of the Assassins happens when the main character, Fernando (Germàn Jaramillo), says that if we killed everyone we thought about killing, life would be pure butchery. In Medellin, Columbia (and Columbia in general), people are killed everywhere for no reason. It's an insane, spastic war-zone surrounded by extreme poverty, drug abuse, and self-destruction.

Fernando Vallejo, a writer, returns to Columbia after many years abroad. He is greeted by a party at a friend's house, where there is a hot young boy called Alexis (Anderson Ballesteros), who wants to get busy with him. Fernando is extremely depressed and sees no purpose in life, yet the continued companionship of Alexis keeps him from shooting himself. Fernando, in turn, keeps Alexis happy by putting him up at his apartment, and buying him televisions and stereos.

The problem with Fernando's lover, however, is that he is a gang member. When the two walk the streets together, not only does Alexis kill people at the slightest irritation, but he is frequently shot at himself. Fernando is at first undisturbed by this, and it actually brings out his own masochistic tendencies, but he is also tortured by the meaningless deaths in nightmares. This makes him overly reminiscent for the early times he lived in Medellin, as well as increasingly numb to the world around him.

Our Lady is so sad, it will make you never want to step foot in Columbia, or on the South American continent for that matter. The people are horribly poor, the streets are dirty, and the joyful explosion of fireworks means that the cartel has received a shipment of cocaine across the border. When it rains, the streets run red with blood. And you can taste, see and feel the blood in every frame.