Eduardo Mendoza turned a lot of heads with 2013’s The Gospel of The Flesh.
Previously only known for 2005’s teen comedy Mañana Te Cuento — which fell into the typical comedy trap of switching out legitimately funny juvenile antics for serious drama, and never recovered — and its sequel, Mendoza reinvented himself as a serious director with a dark, gritty multi-character drama which owed a bit to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s Amores Perros but which was still unmistakably Peruvian; a portrait of Lima, its cultures and beliefs in all their chaotic beauty.
Mendoza’s growth as a filmmaker continues this year with La Hora Final, which reaches back into Peru’s recent past.
Set during the early 1990s, it’s a dramatization of the events which led to the capture of Abimael Guzmán, the head of the Shining Path terrorist organization, who at the time hadn’t been seen for almost ten years. The story centers on Zambrano (Pietro Sibille) and Coronado (Nidia Bermejo), two agents of the Police Intelligence Service (GEIN for short) who, as part of the mission to hunt down Guzmán, have to pass themselves off as a couple. Their unit’s task will bring them to conflict with their own colleagues, terrorists and even the CIA.
Also part of the task force is veteran actor Toño Vega, who starred in 1988’s In The Mouth of The Wolf (La Boca del Lobo), which was also about Peru’s inner war with Shining Path; it is considered a classic of Peruvian cinema, and one of the best films that deals with the conflict.
Going by the trailer, which you can watch below, Mendoza has recreated the hunt for Guzmán as a suspense thriller; the material certainly warrants it. We’ll just have to wait until the movie opens in Peruvian theaters on 14 September to see the end result.