‘El Cuartito': Welcome to a gringo airport, except if you're Latino
Shot in Puerto Rico, Marcos Carnevale's new movie, which opens on March 25, is a mix of comedy and tragedy that explores the immigration policies of the Trump era.
It's not certain that you've ever been to an airport immigration lounge, but if you have, you'll find yourself quite reflected and may even have a few good laughs to let out the rage of having been discriminated against. Especially if you are Latino.
With a title that dwarfs the cold rooms in airports where suspects are taken for interrogation — a "cuartito" — the movie that opens in cinemas today is a dramatic comedy that tells the story of five passengers who end up in the immigration hall of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and who live together in detention, cut off from the outside world and without knowing when they will leave. All of this is framed by the two flags - a poetic irony - the flag of the island and that of the United States.
According to its director, the Argentinian Marcos Carnevale, he was inspired by the immigration stance of the former Trump administration to launch this biting political critique.
"When he started to get very tough on Latino immigration, his intention to build the wall on the border between the United States and Mexico, plus all those horrible things about children in cages," he told Efe.
He also stated that he was interested in locating the action in Puerto Rico because if in one way the island belongs to the United States, at the same time it is a Latin American country seeking its identity and independence. We felt that portraying the Latin or Spanish-speaking world against the United States and its limitations was important".
One of the film's feats is that by tackling such a tough subject through the use of a tangled web and hilarious characters, it works the magic of catharsis: "We wanted to show that there are prejudices against nationalities, and that appears in the film. And that beyond uniting to fight the greater enemy, we forget about the differences between nationalities," said Carnavale. "It's a very funny and amusing film, but it's also hard, because it deals with difficult issues."
El Cuartito began shooting in early 2020, not without a few obstacles. Right at the beginning, tremors were reported in the south of the island; shortly after, a meteorite was sighted in the north, and then came COVID-19.
With an international cast, El Cuartito stars Mexican Ianis Guerrero (Club de Cuervos), Dominican comedian Fausto Mata (Sanky Panky), Spaniard Mario de la Rosa (La Casa de Papel) and Puerto Rican actresses Claribel Medina and Isel Rodríguez.
Get your visas ready, passengers, this cinematic landing will make you turn around in your seats and say to the rest of the viewers: "That's right, just like it happened to me".