Heddy Honigmann's METAL AND MELANCHOLY is a moving look at taxi drivers in Lima, Peru. Winner of the Grand Prix at the prestigious documentary film festival Cinema du Rel, this portrait of life for the city's cab drivers also becomes an insightful statement about Peruvian national
Government corruption and ineptitude have nearly bankrupted Peru. Salaries have not kept up with inflation, and men and women who work as teachers, actors, housewives and government officials moonlight as cab drivers to make ends meet. For the price of a $1.00 "Taxi" sticker, people can put their
beat-up old family cars into service as taxis. The director interviews more than a dozen taxi drivers, following them as they drive around the streets of the city, talking about their lives and their work. Most of their cars are very old and in terrible condition. However, the drivers stand
proudly beside them, posing for the camera. Some drivers have invented elaborate schemes to secure their cars against the ever-present threat of theft. One can only be started by connecting an intricate system of wires; another has a removable gearstick. In one amusing scene, a police officer who
has pulled a taxi over, reveals that he too drives one in his spare time. The drivers talk candidly about their lives--stories of professional disappointments, lost love and sick children. They also talk about their country, revealing the complex mixture of resolve and resignation which seems to
characterize the people of Lima.
Director Heddy Honigmann grew up in Lima and emigrated to Holland in her early 20s. METAL AND MELANCHOLY is a loving portrait of her birthplace, an intelligent (if a little sentimental) attempt to understand how Peru came to be in its current state. One of the interview subjects in the film talks
of a Spanish poet who once described Peru as being "like metal and melancholy." Pain and poverty have made people as hard as metal, but they are also melancholy because they wish for the good old days. As these taxi drivers cruise around the potholed streets of Lima, revealing the city's decaying
architectural grandeur as well as their own poignant stories, METAL AND MELANCHOLY shows with affection and sadness a country which seems to be spiraling downward.
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: NR
- Review: Heddy Honigmann's METAL AND MELANCHOLY is a moving look at taxi drivers in Lima, Peru. Winner of the Grand Prix at the prestigious documentary film festival Cinema du Rel, this portrait of life for the city's cab drivers also becomes an insightful statemen… (more)