Metal and Melancholy | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Metal and Melancholy

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Metal and Melancholy

In 1992, after an almost 20-year absence, Dutch-born director Heddy Honigmann returned to her hometown of Lima, Peru and found a city in economic ruins. Caught between the draconian policies of the rightist government and the terrorism of Shining Path guerrillas, many in the dwindling middle class were struggling to make a living and had turned to moonlighting as taxi drivers. Honigmann interviewed a dozen or so of these cabbies and went along for a series of bumpy rides. Her documentary--whose title refers to the mixture of resilience and resignation that defines the Peruvian character--offers a candid kaleidoscopic view of a poverty-stricken Latin American metropolis through each driver-philosopher's tale of hardship. Some of the stories are disarmingly amusing, even comical; others are poignant and sobering, such as that of a father who spends most of his money on treatment for his five-year-old daughter with leukemia. While obviously sympathetic to her subjects, Honigmann eschews sentimentality in favor of cheerful perseverance. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, August 2, 7:00 and 9:00; Saturday and Sunday, August 3 and 4, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00; and Monday through Thursday, August 5 through 8, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114.

--Ted Shen

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from Metal and Melancholy.

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