Bolívar soy yo (2002)
Director: Jorge Alí Triana.
Starring: Robinson Díaz (Santiago Miranda/Simón Bolívar), Amparo Grisales (Alejandra Barberini/Manuela Sáenz), Jairo Camargo (President of Colombia), Fanny Mikey (TV Producer), Gustavo Angarita (Psychiatrist), María Eugenia Dávila (Mother of Simón Bolívar), Carlos Barbosa (Minister of Defense), Alejandra Borrero (Vice President), Santiago Bejarano (TV Director), Ana Soler (Makeup Artist), Álvaro Rodríguez (Parmenio, E.P.R. Commander), Vicky Rueda (Kelly), Diego Vélez (Guard), Victoria Valencia (Tania, E.P.R. Guerrillera), Margarita Ortega (TV Presenter).
an actor playing the Liberator Simon Bolivar starts working to complete Bolivar's dream of a "Great Colombia"
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire movie.
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was the leader in the War of Independence against the Spanish Crown of today’s Republics of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. He dreamed that these nations would have been part of the "Gran Colombia" (the Great Colombia) all united in one nation.
Simon Bolivar does not want to die because his life’s work is uncompleted. Lt. Almagro is told to bring the defendant to be shot by a firing squad. Bolivar says that history’s three greatest dummies were: Jesus Christ, Don Quixote and Me. The lieutenant asks a woman to tell Bolivar that they are ready. She does not want to tell Bolivar. Instead she turns the assignment over to another woman.
Bolivar rejects the blindfold. He gives a little speech before he is to be executed. But all of a sudden, Bolivar shouts "Cut, cut, cut! Bolivar didn’t die this way."
This is really a telenovela being filmed. Santiago Miranda plays the part of Simon Bolivar and Alejandra Bernardini plays the part of his mistress, Manuelita. Santiago has gotten so close to the character of Simon Bolivar that he thinks it would be a betrayal to the hero to portray him as being shot as the way his life ended. He wants a more heroic ending for the movie.
The director Enrique Castro goes nuts over Santiago once again objecting to the movie script. He tries to talk to Santiago but it is of no use. Alejandra then goes too far when she gets angry at her former boyfriend and calls Santiago a mediocre actor. The Director tells her to try again with Santiago to get him to be at least somewhat reasonable. He says that ever since Alejandra broke with Santiago the actor has been crumbling.
Still dressed as Bolivar in a handsome military uniform, Santiago runs down the street to the airport. The woman attendant asks him about how the telenovela will end. Will Bolivar marry Manuelita? Santiago answers that he doesn’t know. He wants to get to Bogota, Colombia, but the woman tells him that all the flights are booked. Luckily for Santiago, the captain of an airplane just heading out will for Bogota makes sure he gets a seat in honor of Simon Bolivar.
Alejandra looks for Santiago at the Zuana Beach Resort hotel, but they tell her that he packed and left the hotel. Alejandra reports to the director that Santiago has gone back to Bogota. Santiago receives a call reminding him that he has promised to be in a parade in Bogota in the Bicentennial honoring Bolivar.
Santiago returns to Bogota and pays a visit to his mother. The children in the apartment complex see him dressed as Bolivar and rush to him to get his autograph. Mother chases the kids away. Next a woman comes up to Santiago and asks him for a considerable favor. Again mother acts as a chaser and chases away the woman.
Santiago pays a visit to the President’s office. He says that the room holds many bad memories for him as it was here where the big conspiracy against him was planned. Alejandra arrives in Bogota and speaks with his mother about Santiago. Mom turns on the TV and Alejandra sees Santiago as Simon Bolivar riding on a white horse in the Bicentennial parade. Alejandra calls the movie producer, Angelita, and tells her to turn on the TV. The movie crews is shocked to see Santiago in the parade.
At the end of the parade the President and Santiago participate in the laying of a wreath at the base of the statue of Simon Bolivar. While there, the film's psychiatrist arrives and tries to catch Santiago. He yells to him that Bolivar’s death in the film has been cancelled and to come back to the film. But Santiago rides his way out of being caught.
Santiago dances in a night club. A prostitute takes a special interest in him.
The film people discuss the fact that Bolivar needs a maternal figure in his life. This is seen in his early orphanhood, premature widowhood and the many women in his life (with 38 known partners).
The prostitute takes Santiago to a hotel room. She turns on the television to see his telenovela. Santiago does not want to watch the series. He complains to the prostitute that "People ask me for things that I can’t give them." To cheer him up, she suggests having sex with her.
The director tells the team searching for Santiago that he was seen near Santander Square. Santiago pays a visit to the house of Bolivar which is now a museum. He walks through the house looking at the rooms. The guard tells him that he saw the series this night and did not care for it. He tells Santiago that the episode denigrated the importance of one of their country’s blackest moments in its history. And the Liberator’s real dream is not seen anywhere. Moreover, there was a scene where Bolivar heads to Ana Lenoit’s house, who wasn’t important to him, right after the attempt on his life. What’s worse is that in the series "The Loves of the Liberator" the Bolivar character only cares about chasing women. The guard then encourages Santiago saying: "But you have the opportunity he didn’t have. To finish the dream."
Santiago rides his horse to the Bolivar statue and starts talking to it. He says: "Now I understand what a symbol is." He swears he will find the ending that the telenovela story deserves. The capture team grabs Santiago and in the next scene he is in a straight jacket speaking with the film’s psychiatrist. He tells his hosts that he is not crazy and yet he also tells them that he wants to speak to the president or the secretary of defense. He adds that he simply must attend the Summit of Bolivian Countries.
Santiago in the nut house is front page news. Alejandra is mad because the story does not even mention her name.
Bolivar died in bed not before a firing squad.
The president asks the producer Angelita to make sure that Santiago comes to Santa Marta and the Summit Meeting. Angelita says that she cannot let the president down and so she wants Alejandra to get Santiago out of the mental facility.
Alejandra succeeds and now they are on the beach discussing what should be done next. Santiago has seen the script the president wants him to follow at the Summit Metting and he does not like it at all. Now he says that he wants to re-write the script and direct all the remaining episodes of the telenovela. Alejandra starts liking Santiago again.
Santiago starts to give his speech, but he does not follow the script. He talks in character and says that after his death, his name was used for the worst: to justify a government take over, to name mediocre schools, hospitals that don’t work, and constitutions that don’t apply and legitimate the brutality of war. The president asks his staff to stop Santiago from saying anything else. Santiago resists, takes the gun from an MP and takes the president hostage. The staff asks what Santiago wants and he tells them that he wants a ship.
Santiago is convinced that his resurrection as Bolivar is beneficial to the Bolivarian countries. He is on a boat on the Magdalen River with the president still as his hostage. It appears that Santiago is following the last footsteps that drove Bolivar to his death. The president reminds Santiago that the idea of the "Great Colombia" disappeared in 1830 with the death of Bolivar.
General Blanco tells the politicians that he will not let Santiago get to Parrancabernieja (held by the guerrillas) or to Puerto Boyaca (in the control of private para-military armies). Santiago is becoming something of a hero to the average man and woman. People line the river and wave to Santiago as his boat passes by.
The rebel soldiers of the Bolchevique Front of Salamina of the Popular Revolutionary Army (PRA) board the boat to help Santiago, but more importantly to the rebels, to use the situation for their own ends. The rebels take pictures with Santiago and the president. Around 72% percent of the public believe that Santiago is in the right.
Alejandra talks to Santiago’s mother. Mother tells her that her son has always loved difficulties. Remember when he was on the road of Los Andes before the Battle of the Marsh of Vegas? Everything seemed insane, but he won. She adds that what he is missing is love. (And we are left wondering if mom is going crazy too.)
The film’s psychiatrist tells the staff that Santiago is no longer Santiago. Santiago has sacrificed himself to become Bolivar. They want to send Alejandra to Santiago again, but as Manuelita. The vice-president of the country, a woman, remarks that Manuelita was a scheming hag who handled the power behind the throne. But the consensus is that Manuelita go and so she goes.
When Alejandra arrives aboard in costume as Manuelita, one of the skeptical female rebels remarks that all they need now is Ana Lenoit and the de Ibanez sisters to arrive. Alejandra and Santiago have sex. He tells Alejandra that he does not think he is Simon Bolivar. But on the other hand he also says: "I am the frustrated dream of a whole continent because now I am Bolivar."
Alejandra tells Santiago that if he wants to talk to the presidents at the Summit Meeting, they have to go to Bogota. So Santiago tells her to use her cell phone to request a helicopter. The helicopter takes them and the president to the Simon Bolivar house museum. The rebel soldiers arrive a little later, followed by a small army from the Colombian military. Santiago stays alone in a room to write the proper ending of the story of the modern Bolivar.
The news media remind the public that Colombia has had many incidents of political kidnapping in its history. The worst incident was that involving the M-19 guerrillas who took over the Supreme Court. The end result was 15 judges murdered, 16 auxiliary lawyers killed and 35 guerrillas dead.
The museum guard comes into to encourage Santiago and Santiago sees him as his old friend General Sucre, saying: "My only friend as usual." Alejandra phones the vice-president saying that the guerrillas are having a trial of the president. She then goes into Santiago to tell him that the Summit Meeting has been cancelled. Santiago is shocked and stunned. She adds that all this was a ruse to get him off the boat. "You have been betrayed by everyone. They are going to kill us. We must run away from here." But Santiago as Bolivar has no intention of running.
The rebels find the president guilty and are about to kill the president, when Santiago, Alejandra and the museum guard get the drop on the guerrillas and take them prisoner. Santiago sees the head of the guerrillas as General Paez and the president as General Santander. Santiago says to General Santander: "Not getting along with you was the doom of the ‘Great Colombia'".
The news headlines shout that "They killed the President". They then show pictures of the all too many tragically violent events in the history of the Boliviarian countries. The next scene shows everyone involved with the hostage taking (including Santiago and Alejandra) are dead or dying.
At the very end Santiago calls "Cut, cut, cut!" And the film crew is seen. What is all unreal or were some parts true? The movie leaves one wondering.
Good movie. It gives the audience enough information about Simon Bolivar to make them want to find out more about the great Liberator.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
Bolívar was a leader of several independence movements. Together they are known as Bolivar’s War.
1783 – Simón Bolívar was born in Caracas, Venezuela.
1802 – he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa.
1803 – his wife died of yellow fever. He never remarried.
1807 – Bolívar returned to Venezuela.
1808 – Napoleon made his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain.
1808 – Bolívar participated in the resistance juntas in South America.
1810 – in Colombia, the Caracas junta declared its independence. It sent Bolívar to Britain on a diplomatic mission.
1811 – Bolívar returns to Venezuela.
1812 (March) – when an earthquake destroys Caracas, Venezuela, Bolívar is forced to leave Venezuela.
1812 (July) – junta leader Francisco de Miranda surrenders to the Spanish. Bolívar flees to Cartagen de Indias, a seaport in northern coast of Colombia. He writes the Manifiesto de Cartagena.
1813 – Bolívar gets a command in New Granada under the Congress of Tunja.
1813 (May 14) – Bolívar invades Venezuela.
1813 (May 23) – Bolívar enters Mérida.
1813 (June 9) – occupies Trujillo. He is proclaimed El Libertador (the Liberator).
1813 (June 15) – writes his famous Decree of War to the Death (Decreto de Guerra a Muerte).
1813 (August 6) – takes Caracas. Proclamation of the Venezuelan Second Republic.
1814 – rebellion of José Tomás Boves and the fall of the Venezuelan Second Republic.
1814 – Bolívar returns to New Grenada.
1814 – as commander of the Colombian nationalist force, Bolívar recaptures Bogotá from the dissenting republican forces of Cundinamarca. He gets into a lot of political and military disputes with the government of Cartagena.
1815 – Bolívar flees to Jamaica. He gets aid from Haiti when he promises freedom for the slaves.
1816 – Bolívar captured Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar), Venezuela.
1819 – he wins the Battle of Boyacá (thereby creating a free New Granada).
1821 (September 7) – the Gran Colombia was formed out of modern day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador. Bolívar was president and Francisco de Paula Santander vice president.
1821 – he wins a victory the Carabobo, Venezuela.
1821 (August) – Argentine General José de San Martín receives the title of Protector of Peruvian Freedom after partially liberating Peru from the Spanish.
1822 – wins at Pichincha, Ecuador.
1822 (July 26 & 27) – Bolívar with Argentine General José de San Martín take command of the attempt to free Peru fully from Spanish rule.
1824 (February 10) – the Peruvian congress names Bolívar dictator of Peru.
1824 (August 6) – with the help of his good friend Antonio José de Sucre, Bolívar decisively defeats the Spanish at Junín, Peru.
1824 (December 9) – General Sucre destroys the rest of the Spanish forces at Ayacucho.
1825 (August 6) – the Republic of Bolivia created.
1826 – internal divisions cause regional uprisings in Venezuela.
1828 – Bolívar calls for a constitutional convention for Gran Colombia at OcaZa during April.
1828 (April) – the unhappy Bolívar delegates left the convention.
1828 (August 27) – Bolívar proclaims himself dictator. (He saw this as temporary.)
1828 (September 25) – failure of an assassination attempt on Bolívar’s life. (It is said that he was helped by his lover Manuela Sáenz.)
1828-1829 – uprisings in New Granada, Venezuela and Ecuador.
1830 (April 27) – Bolívar resigns his presidency.
He prepared to sail for exile in Europe.
1830 (December 17) – he died of tuberculosis in "La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino" in Santa Marta, Colombia.
1842 – his remains were moved from Santa Marta to Caracas. A monument was created to honor him.
Return To Main Page
Return to Home Page (Vernon Johns Society)