Magallanes, a poor taxi driver in Lima, thinks he recognized Celina, a collateral victim of his army days (she was sequestrated and raped by his colonel) during the National conflict against the Shining Path. He puts on a risky scheme of blackmail against the relatives of the retired colonel with the idea to raise money for her.

Magallanes is Peruvian actor Salvador del Solar first film as a director. It is inspired by lonso Cueto’s story La Pasajera and features the acting talents of Mexican actor Damián Alcázar and Argentinian actor Federico Luppi, as well as Peru’s own Magaly Solier in the role of Celina and Tatiana Astengo, the wife of the most renown Peruvian director, Francisco J. Lombardi.

Based on the basic premises of a drama, but with the frame of a thriller with its building tension and shifts within the story , it surprisingly succeed with its various changes of tone without compromising the integrity of its original subject, partly because it is well written and the cast is excellent.

As the taxi man, Damián Alcázar shows once more that he is one of the great Latin American actors (with mainly a local career in Mexican TV and the films of Luis Estrada). He keeps thing more simple than in his Mexican roles, but he is dramatically convincing. Magaly Solier, who is becoming one of the Peruvians greats, is as always moving and she creates a build up of tense drama until her memorable final scene. The kind of scene that makes or destroy a picture. And she is simply pitch perfect.
Playing on such a heavy subject by standing on a thin line between a drama and suspense the whole film could also have been a disaster, but it works.

Yours to discover.

* For Montrealers , MAGALLANES is shown
Saturday April 2nd 7PM + Sunday April 3rd, 5PM at Cinema Du Parc of as part of the Montreal 7th Latin American Film Festival.