Eduardo Mendoza: “The weariness of our political class can be reflected in a comedy”

Four friends tired of their destinies, who go between routine and mediocrity, decide to change their luck by assaulting the largest and most exclusive casino in Lima. They have no better idea than to do it on a Halloween night and decide to wear the masks of the most controversial former Peruvian presidents. This, in short, is the plot of “The Presidential Band”a Peruvian film that premieres on the 22nd and is directed by Eduardo Mendoza deEchave.

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“The presidential band”: Watch the first preview of the film that satirises Peruvian politics

“After having premiered ‘La Hora Final’, which touched on the subject of the capture of Abimael Guzmán, I kept thinking that time has passed and unfortunately things have gotten worse here, we have gone from one crisis to another. I wondered how this boredom could be channeled in the cinema, and at that moment I thought that perhaps through comedy this could be reflected, so that it would not be as dense as perhaps in a drama or crime”says the Peruvian filmmaker.

A risky proposition, too…
Sure, combining comedy with political context is brave, but I started to wander around where I could go and finally took the risk. I said, we are going to try to make a kind of political satire mixed with comedy with a story that I think any of us can identify with.

That’s why the protagonists are ordinary Peruvians…
They are four lifelong friends from the neighborhood, one of them is a teacher, the other is a public transport driver, one is a nurse and the other works in a position in Brazilian galleries. I chose four activities with which we all have daily contact in some way, they are like stereotypes of Peruvians who are fighting it and that each one in their systems feels that things are getting worse and worse.

Until one of them comes up with something that pushes them over the edge..
The public transport driver proposes to his friends the crazy plan of robbing a casino and thus turning their lives around. They finally agree to be part of the plan and decide to rob the largest casino in the country on Halloween night, disguising themselves in the costumes and masks of the last four former presidents.

Actors of the Peruvian comedy “La Banda presidential” in their presentation to the press.

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Did you appeal to any reference in comedy in your proposal? Not so much political comedy because there isn’t, it’s a complicated genre. I would tell you that my greatest reference has been the cinema of the Italian comedy of manners, a little more of that wave of close characters, naive to a certain extent… because they are four friends, who really have no idea how to rob a casino.

With many Peruvian films being released week after week due to the pandemic, it seems that we are living a good time. The truth is that this year, in general, Peruvian cinema has not done very well due to a mixture of factors, keep in mind that after more than two years of getting used to seeing films on platforms, perhaps the decision to leave, the traffic, the taxi, the entrance, the coffee, that is equivalent to one, two or even three months of a platform payment. It could be because of the economic side that we are still half beaten, until suddenly they say: “A movie like this, there are fifty of the same on Netflix and why am I going”…

And are we going to find a movie in the style of The Presidential Band on Netflix?
It is a film that is closely linked to our idiosyncrasies and the social political context, it is not a film that you will find “just the same” on Netflix, or on HBO, or on Amazon, that I can assure you. It’s not the comedy you see and say it’s the one you just saw the trailer and there are fifty just like it or of the same cut, that’s not, there is no such movie. Be careful, I’m not saying that with that it’s the best, nor am I saying that you have to like it, but there isn’t that type, it’s an objective deal. A film that deals with, I repeat, the Peruvian social political context, not the world, not Latin America, Peruvian from satire, from satirical comedy, there is none.

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