Sunday, December 26, 2021

Chavas Banda.

 Like Pandilleros; Pandilleras: Chavas Banda begins with real-life interviews on the streets—but this time around its interviews are with adolescents that are punks & goths. Not so much kids in poverty & lost in addiction. The male adolescents interviewed here pretty much just talk about how they’re always judged by the way they look and speak of why they’re into the punk or goth style. When the interview turns to the adolescent females–they too speak of their styles & how they have to be more careful than their male counterparts—but luckily for them they have many friends backing them up & keeping them safe always. The interviews here are intriguingly wholesome and not depressing whatsoever—thus leading me to believe that Ismael Rodriguez Jr was now focusing on making a film for a younger audience craving to see cool violence & an attractive cast. A social commentary on poverty & drugs as well? Nah. Not this time. Ismael was not going to make anyone sad or feel so angry at the country this time around.

In Pandilleras: Chavas Bandawe meet 3 young ladies named “La Mulata”, “Belen” and “Selena”. La Mulata is the leading lady and she’s very loyal to her fellow gang members & friends and so much that she helps out a friend from the neighborhood “Rosa”—whom struggles back home with a mother who’s boyfriend is a shithead of a thief & philanderer. Rosa begins to hang out more with La Mulata & her gang since she sees how much they care about each other and thinks they're very cool girls. Beyond the edgy outfits & rebellious attitudes though—La Mulata, Belen and Selena are also cold-blooded killers & thieves. They are very dangerous young ladies and not to be underestimated at all!

Pandilleras: Chavas Banda is the 3rd & final entry of street gang/poverty movies that Ismael Rodriguez Jr was making. This one however differs from its predecessors since it is not so grimy and not so depressing. If anything—this is the 'fun' entry of the series. The movie is meant to be a fun watch and not so much try to feed the audience a social commentary. Another difference so noticeably is how the cast is rather attractive looking. Very appealing & very cool. None of the ladies here are ever in dirty attire or looking roughed up. An obvious sign of Ismael reeling in young people to come see cool & pretty girls in a gang doing some wild stuff and that includes giving a giant fuck you to the patriarchy near the end. That scene in particular is pretty intense and very satisfying to see.

Pandilleras will not shock you nor will it make you think about the hard knock lives in Mexico—but it will entertain you for sure. It has a decent story and enough violence to satisfy. It is definitely worth a look if you're into Olor A Muerte and Pandilleros.

More Smell Of Death.

Pandilleros is the follow-up to Olor A Muerte and while the movie is yet another fictional & moody portrayal of street life in Mexico City—this one begins with interviews of real-life members of street gangs & other young vagabonds around town. Most of them are sniffing glue & getting drunk, some sleeping on the streets and all speak of their hopelessness in their lives. These interviews truly set the mood for the movie and it is all uncomfortable & very sad. Especially since most of the interviewed are young children.

Flor (Anadeli Teran) and her boyfriend (Raul Buenfil) are 2 college students assigned to report about street life in Mexico City and it is also to be televised locally as well. Their reporting begins harshly since they’re robbed by the gang “Los Chuchos” and they of course have no mercy nor remorse for their actions. As Flor and her boyfriend continue their report—Los Chuchos continue to rob & assault people around town and evading the law as well. Los Chuchos are then lead to believe Flor & her boyfriend are ratting them out to the police and this leads to Flor being raped & kidnapped by Los Chuchos along with a drug-dealing partner of theirs. Flor’s boyfriend is almost killed but manages to survive and with the help of the police—they go after Los Chuchos & to save Flor. 

Pandilleros has a much different tone than Olor A Muerte and what I mean by that is that this movie feels like it wasn’t trying to be so polished/exaggerated and wanted to feel far more gritty & realistic instead. The interviews in the beginning give it the kickstart of grittiness and realism. The grittiest & most memorable scene of the movie is where a small child wearing a cape is high on glue & proceeds to jump from a building thinking he’s a superhero. It is a gruesome scene and very sad too. It’s a prime example of small children hooked on drugs and the dire consequences that come about from it. 

Director Ismael Rodriguez Jr just had to make another movie about street gangs & poverty after the much success of Olor A Muerte and sure enough he pulled it off again with Pandilleros. Pandilleros is just as beloved as Olor A Muerte is and it truly deserves all the love & praise it gets because this is a movie that’ll shock you, entertain you all the way through and make you want to watch it over & over again.