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El Ambulante (The Peddler) - Movie Review - 2009

Movies Made Of The People, By The People, For The People

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

By

Daniel Burmeister, a charming middle aged Argentinian filmmaker, drives his wornout jalopy from rural village to tiny town throughout his native land, making dramatic films with local farmers, shopkeepers, mayors, undertakers, kids and firemen. He has one camera, one spotlight for night shoots, a white sheet that doubles as a cloak-like costume and as his projection screen, and enough charm to convince everyone he encounters to do his bidding -- and, if they refuse, which they rarely do, he finds a way to work around them.

A Film About Filmmaking

In this film about the filmmaker, we find Burmeister in Benjamin Gould, a small town in the Cordoba region. When getting authorization to set up his shoot, he requests that the town support him with lodging and meals. He will make his modest income from selling tickets to see the film when finished, and selling copies of it to those who've acted for the first time and want a souvenir because they will probably never act again.

Burmeister is a one man crew: producer, casting director, coach, scriptwriter, set builder, cameraman and editor. And, he runs the projector when it's time to screen the film for the town's assembled citizens. He's adept. He's been doing this for years, has made hundreds of movies. Back in the day, he wrote a new scenario for each town. But as time passed, he realized he can get by with four or five script variations. Now he makes the same film time and again with a different cast. The scripts are slight and melodramatic -- about unpaid bills and other issues that come between neighbors. But, who cares? Locals find filmmaking an exciting once-in-a-lifetime pleasure.

Burmeister is a wonderful character. He's charming, clever and humorous. And, his amiable acceptance of the ridiculous make this documentary thoroughly enjoyable.

Directors Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich follow Burmeister from his arrival in town until the day he packs his stuff into his patched up car and rolls on to find his next location and cast. You kind of want to travel on with him, and see what his next episode will be.

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Film Details:

  • Title: El Ambulante (The Peddler)
  • Directors: Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano, Adriana Yurcovich
  • Release Date: 2009 (Argentina)
  • Running Time: 84 mins.
  • Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
  • Location: Benjamin Gould, Cordoba, Argentina
  • Language: Spanish, with English subtitles
  • Official Website
  • Trailer

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