In 2005, Porfirio Ramirez, a wheelchair-bound Colombian man, hijacked a Cali-Bogota flight and demanded government compensation for his disability. (He alleged that he became paralyzed after being shot by police in 1991). The standoff ended when negotiators tricked Ramirez and he was captured without detonating the twin grenades he smuggled in his adult undergarments. He was sentenced to eight years of house arrest, a confinement made more difficult by his disability.
Though the film highlights several aspects of Ramirez’ daily life the film is in reality fictional. Director Alejandro Landes chose to cast Ramirez as the protagonist after meeting him. "When I met him [Porfirio] I was dazzled by his mental and physical strength and this story would not have gone far without Porfirio," said Landes in an interview.
According to Miami International Film Festival Director Jaie Laplante, including Ramirez into the film was a move that paid off:
What IS in the film is a minimalist approach to detailing the boredom and frustration of Porfirio's daily life as a paraplegic -- the effort it takes to scratch his back, or take a bath, deal with normal bodily functions, be able to parent his teenage son and have a physical relationship with his young girlfriend.The Spanish/Colombian/Uruguayan co-production generated plenty of buzz at Cannes and you can hopefully see why via the trailer below.
Porfirio is an undeniably magnetic character and I watched every minute of Porfirio in hushed fascination. Landes has done an extraordinary job with his minimalist narrative, brilliantly explored a new genre (some programmers have taken to calling it "hyper-realism," a unique fusion of the bio-pic and cinema verite style) and in the process revealed new riches through quiet and stillness.
(Note: the video is slightly Not Safe for Work).
Video Source – YouTube,
Online Sources- NPR, Miami New Times, Colombia Reports