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GREEN WALL, THE (LA MURALLA VERDE) (director/writer: Armando Robles Godoy; screenwriters: from the novel by Omar Aramayo/Juan Cuadros; cinematographer: Mario Robles Godoy; editor: Atillo Rinatdi; music: Enrique Pinilla; cast: Julio Alemán (Mario), Sandra Riva (Delba), Raúl Martin (Romulo), Lorena Duval (Mother), Enrique Victoria (Father), Jorie Montoro (Chief of Jungle Region), Juan Bautista Font (Colonization Director); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Manuel Yori; Altura Films International; 1970-Peru-in Spanish with English subtitles)
“Made a little splash as a cult film.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Peruvian director Armando Robles Godoy’s (“Mirage”)turns out a minor cult film, with a back-to-the-jungle survival theme. It might be the first Peruvian feature to reach the States (it’s only the fourth film ever made in Peru). The romantic film tells about a young Lima salesman Mario (Julio Alemán) who, with his wife Delba (Sandra Riva) and baby son Romulo (Raúl Martin), give up city life to start a farm in the jungle. They must go through government bureaucrats to secure the land (the couple take advantage of a government program to civilize the forest) and then invest their energy in breaking down ‘the green wall’ of the jungle. Mario clears the land and on the rich soil grows coffee. He builds a comfortable bamboo home that has a veranda that overlooks a little stream. The imaginative lonely boy loves to play in his natural backyard, where he builds a tiny city out of blocks, tin, glass and string. His dad builds him a waterwheel that goes around and around and pleasantly tinkles against a glass jar. The self-sufficient back-to-nature folks are more put-off by the settlement bureaucrats then they are by the jungle, which is why the pic probably appeals to its mostly dreamy-eyed urban viewers so much.

Writers Godoy and Juan Cuadros base it on the novel by Omar Aramayo. The Green Wall is a raw film made by a greenhorn when it comes to filmmaking technique. But because of its simplicity and sincerity, it struck a chord with the festival crowds and made a little splash as a cult film. The Peruvian jungle becomes the main attraction, as the drama-free story unfolds as one where pastoral bliss is threatened by mankind’s progress (would you believe a biblical-like snake emerges from this primitive exotic Garden to bite the young boy and threaten his life, and dad must battle with the village bureaucrats to get the serum needed to save his son’s life!).

The result is a somewhat charming humanistic pic filled with the usual nature cliches and lots of lush visual photography. But its gimmicky visual shots and too many confusing flashbacks seem awkward, and its story is on the dull side.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”