7 Cajas

Last night Brian and I ordered pizza for dinner and watched the Paraguayan film “7 Cajas” (which means “7 Boxes” in English).

movie cover   alternate movie cover   movie cover english

The movie takes place in a rough part of Asunción known as Mercado Cuatro, a huge open air maze of a market with hundreds of stalls selling everything you can image (legal and otherwise).

Seventeen year-old Victor works in Mercado Cuatro transporting goods for customers on his pushcart while dreaming of being a famous movie star.
mercado at sunset

After his wandering mind causes him to lose a customer, he comes across an opportunity to make much more money by delivering seven boxes of unknown contents through the market. At a butcher shop within the market, Victor is given explicit instructions about the delivery of the boxes and a cell phone for further contact and directions. 

Victor is given half of a one hundred dollar bill and is promised the other half when the goods are delivered.

100 bill

Butchershop employees load the boxes on to Victor’s push cart and he starts to make his way through the market. Victor’s friend Liz accompanies him through much of the movie, asking constant questions and trying to keep him out of trouble.

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Victor and Liz stumble though a series of encounters, raging from comical to suspenseful to deadly, including a stop by the police who want to open the boxes, the theft of one box, the hiding/swapping/loss of the boxes, a fire in the market, other porters in the market (believing that the boxes contain $250,000 in cash) trying to steal the boxes and its presumed contents. The teens end up in the middle of a serious crime not knowing who the victim or the perpetrator are.
stopped by police

mercado 4 at night

victor at night

victor with cart

After the exciting climax of the movie, the sun begins to rise the following morning over the market.
mercado at sunrise

Victor awakes and sees himself on a TV news story, unaware that the exciting events of the preceding night had been recorded on a cell phone camera and widely distributed. As the news story is played over and over on multiple TV screens in numerous locations, Victor’s dream of being famous is achieved.

Click here to see the movie trailer. Although this movie is not currently available on Netflix or Amazon, it is available on YouTube (at least partially) in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. The movie has been entered in many film festivals, earning top prizes internationally. Here’s a link to a review of the movie from the Hollywood Reporter.

Following recent distribution contracts with Shoreline and HBO Olé, the movie may well become the most widely viewed Paraguayan film of all time. Brian and I very much enjoyed the movie (we borrowed the DVD from a friend who owns a copy) and hopefully our family and friends in the US will be able to see it soon too.

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