Tallgrass to present indie film ‘7 Cajas’ at the Orpheum

04/14/2013 7:51 AM

08/08/2014 10:16 AM

The Tallgrass Film Association is bringing another dazzling independent film to Wichita.

“7 Cajas (7 Boxes)” takes place in the biggest marketplace in Paraguay, following 17-year-old Victor (Celso Franco, in a breakout performance), a wheelbarrow message boy who dreams of being famous and buying a big-screen TV. But, like most people working in the markets, he is broke.

So when he gets an offer with a payment of $100, he doesn’t refuse. The job sounds easy enough, anyway: Deliver seven boxes with unknown content to a predetermined destination — and ask no questions. Piece of cake.

But Victor soon discovers that whatever is in the boxes is something that several people want, and will stop at nothing to get. Even kill.

Victor is soon aided by his gal-pal, Liz (Lali Gonzalez), and through the night must avoid cops, dodge thieves and outrun criminals.

The film drips with a sultry sense of place, the labyrinthine marketplace becoming a world of its own. Think of this as a sweatier “Run, Lola, Run,” with stark visuals, creative camerawork and tight pacing. It’s darkly humorous, at times violent, but gripping and entertaining. And the story becomes as twisted and interconnecting as the marketplace that encompasses it.

“7 Cajas” was a film festival hit, screening at San Sebastian International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival and most recently Miami Film Festival (where it won the audience award). When it was released in its native Paraguay in 2012, the film broke box office records.

Tallgrass will present a screening of the film at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway. The film’s co-director, Juan Carlos Maneglia, will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A session directly after the film.

Tickets are $10, $8 for students/teachers/seniors/military and Tallgrass members with valid ID. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. The event is sponsored by Kansas Paraguay Partners, the Orpheum Theatre, KMUW and Tom, Kathleen and Chris Wren.

For more information, go to www.tallgrassfilmfest.com.

MTV and movies — They’re certainly not the Oscars, and their merit is probably on par with the free prize in a box of Cracker Jacks, but the MTV Movie Awards will be presented Sunday night.

MTV’s goal obviously is to be the antithesis of stuffy film or critics awards shows, with such novel categories as best kiss, best fight, best villain and best shirtless performance (nominees include such chiseled stars as Channing Tatum, Christian Bale, Daniel Craig, Taylor Lautner and — get this — Ted, the talking teddy bear from “Ted”). It seems to be all in good-natured fun.

All that aside, it is interesting to see what names and films pop up on MTV’s major nominees list, indicating what the MTV demographic finds worthy of merit.

For instance, MTV’s movie of the year nominees are “The Avengers,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Django Unchained,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and — again — “Ted.”

Best male performance includes Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Channing Tatum (“Magic Mike”), Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”) and Jamie Foxx (“Django Unchained”).

Best female performance nominees are Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”), Emma Watson (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Mila Kunis (“Ted”) and Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect”).

The awards show starts at 8 p.m. Sunday and will be broadcast live on MTV, Channel 36. Rebel Wilson will host. Jamie Foxx, Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Liam Hemsworth, Kerry Washington and Zac Efron are among stars scheduled to appear.

You can vote on the awards yourself at www.mtv.com.

About Movie Maniac

The Eagle's Rod Pocowatchit offers his musings on the screen scene.

Reach Rod at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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