La Sirga (The Towrope) (2012)




Director:     William Vega.

Starring:     Floralba Achicanoy (Flora), Joghis Seudin Arias (Alicia), David Fernando Guacas (Gabriel Mirichis), Julio CÚsar Roble (Oscar), Heraldo Romero (Fredy).

drug-fueled conflict in Colombia leaves a young woman without her parents and with a destroyed village



Spoiler Warning:

A dead man hangs from a pole in the ground. 

A young woman walks through strange looking palm trees.  She walks through water as she passes by a house.  At least, she's wearing rubber boots.  She collapses.  A man in a boat picks her up and rows to to a house.  The man goes up on the porch and knocks on the door, calling for Don Oscar.  When Oscar comes to the door the boatman explains that he brought a girl to him.  She asked to see Oscar. Oscar goes with the fellow, who says the girl is not well.  He found her along the way.  The girl sleeps on a small couch. 

When she awakens Oscar asks her what does she want?  She says that she is Alicia, his niece, the daughter of Dilia and Evelio. Oscar says he hasn't heard from his brother in ages.  He asks what happened?  Alicia says they burned Siberia. She says she doesn't know who did it.  Uncle asks what color were the armbands?  She doesn't know. 

Oscar tells her that times are rough here.  The price of coal went down and his son Freddy left.  Alicia asks straight out if she can stay?  Oscar doesn't say anything, so she starts to leave the house.  Oscar tells her to sit down and have some corn bread and coffee for breakfast.  He then tells her to put her things in the middle room.  He tells her that he is going to the harbor.  If she needs anything, ask Flora. 

From outside Alicia looks over the house.  It looks a bit dilapidated.  The house is situated right near a large lake.  She goes back in and talks to Flora, who may be in her 30s.  Flora is not very friendly to Alicia.  She just tells her to clean the tubers, peel the beans and wash the potatoes.  They are interrupted by the boatman who has come to see Alicia.  Alicia goes out on the porch to talk with him, but she has no idea of who he is.  The young fellow says he was the one who brought Alicia to the hotel.  He says that Oscar told him to come early this day and take her somewhere, but he doesn't know where.  Alicia tells him that she is going to stay here for a few days.  The young guy says his name is Gabriel and if she wants to go someplace, just tell Oscar and Oscar then will tell him. 

Flora asks Alicia to fix some soup and make it thick.  The onions for the soup can be found in the garden.   

There are small openings between the boards of the walls.  At night Oscar turns off his light and watches Alicia disrobe.  (brief nudity) 

Oscar gives two men a ride in his boat.  He tells Alfredo that Don Parmenides gave them 20 planks to thank them for their purchase and they must be careful with the planks.  Alfredo asks where Freddy is?  He says Freddy is a hard worker and he could help them do the work  Oscar says he doesn't know where his son is.

Alicia's left boot breaks through a weak plank on the porch. When she pulls her foot out of the boot, the boot falls underneath the porch.  Gabriel comes over to her and helps her back into the building.  She asks and he tells her that he transports merchandise, equipment, coal and wood or he takes people to different hamlets in the region. 

Flora tells Alicia that they have to fix the boards and the balustrades of the porch.  The roof also needs to be fixed, but they don't have the money for that.  Flora starts working on the project. 

One night Alicia starts sleep-walking and walks right out of the hotel and then into the lake.  Oscar has to bring her back to the house.  He places her back into her bed and then stares at her body for awhile.

The next morning Alicia goes into Freddy's room.  She opens the shutters to let light into the room.  Alicia looks at the objects in the room.  She is going to put curtains on the window.   

When Oscar comes home with some fish, she tells him about the curtains and says she also replaced the rotten boards outside.  He asks about the corn cakes on the table and she says they're a gift from Gabriel. 

About Freddy's room, he tells her to stop snooping around.  "You have no reason be in Freddy's room.  You're nosey."

In the night, the wind is blowing hard and the loose tin makes a lot of noise.  Early in the morning, Alicia is awakened by hammering.  She looks outside and Flora says they have to fix up parts of the house to make sure water doesn't come inside.  They put up a piece of plastic material to cover a bit of the roof. 

At night it rains and Alicia has to put out a lot of containers to collect the drip drops.  She tells Oscar:  "My room is a real sieve. . . . There are leaks everywhere."

Gabriel is transport rifles using his boat. 

Today, Alicia is painting the balustrades.  Her uncle calls out that they have company this day.  It's a small band and the band plays music for Oscar and his friends.  Freddy is among the company.  Oscar tells everyone that they can stay over for the night in the hotel.  Freddy says he knows where he's going to sleep [with Alicia].  Uncle squashes that idea pretty fast.  The guys say that Alicia is nice looking.  Alicia is in bed listening to all this.  The music begins again.

After everyone has gone to sleep, Alicia sneaks over into Uncle's room to tell him she doesn't want any of those men coming into her bed during the night.  Uncle says his friends know how to behave themselves.  She doesn't have to worry about them.  So, now Alicia asks if there is any danger that the men who killed her family could come here?  He tells her to stop listening to the rumors and gossip.  She still asks Uncle if she can stay here in the room.

Flora asks Gabriel to go by the cooperative and get some varnish.  He says then she will have to wait because he's busy now.  So, Flora tells him to tell Oscar to bring her some varnish.  So that will be done.  Gabriel now asks Alicia to come with him for a ride to see the cooperative.  On the ride he asks her to go with him.  To where?  He doesn't know.

They reach their destination.  Alicia gets off the boat and Gabriel continues on.  Alicia tells Uncle that she will be going back with him.  She asks him what is he doing?  He says they're going to be raising trout right here instead of having to fish for trout. 

At night Alicia goes sleep-walking again.  She puts the candle under the mud and water and then returns to her room.  Her hands and feet are all muddy.  Uncle puts her in bed and cleans some of the mud off her feet and hands. 

During the day, one of the plastic sheets blows off the roof. Alicia gets all wet and has to sit by the chimney for warmth.  Later, she goes to bed early. 

One morning, Freddy is in the hotel.  He helps Alicia in making breakfast. Gabriel yells to her to please watch his cargo for awhile.  Alicia says okay.  Then Flora comes and wants Alicia to come with her.  Freddy says he'll stay in the hotel and watch over things. 

Uncle comes into the house and Freddy tells him that this is his house.  Uncle asks him how long is he going to stay?  The young fellow says he doesn't know yet. 

Freddy's right hand and forearm are bandaged.  At dinner his father asks him what happened?  Freddy says he lit a cigarette next to some gasoline. 

Freddy tells his father that the trout breeding idea won't work.  And he never should have included the cooperative in his ideas.  Dad and his two friends should split any profits among the three of them. 

At bed time, Alicia gets into her pajamas.  (brief nudity)  She hears some noise and starts looking to see if anyone is watching her.  Uncle is watching her.  And from the other side of her room, so is Freddy. 

In the morning Freddy asks Flora about the tourists.  She says there's none yet.  Freddy says the tourists are scared.  Who knows what could happen here?  He adds that he's scared.  Afraid that his father will be alone.  Flora says his father is not alone. 

The women put flowering plants in containers and then display them on the hotel porch.  Flora finishes and tells Alicia that she has go go home.  Her husband is back and she has to care for him. 

With a scythe, Freddy cuts some of the giant reeds in the marsh area of the lake.  He sees Alicia and Gabriel loading up Gabriel's boat. 

At night, Alicia starts sleep-walking again.  Freddy grabs a long knife and goes outside to see what Alicia is doing. 

The next morning, Freddy asks Alicia to go to town with him.  Later in the day, Gabriel comes around and asks her if she she wants to go with him to Santa Lucia to get coal. Freddy watches the couple from the hotel.  Alicia goes with Gabriel.

Gabriel asks Alicia how long is Freddy going to stay and what does he do during the day?  Alicia doesn't know.  He might work in town.  But which town?  She doesn't know. 

Freddy asks his dad why does he stay here at the hotel?  He warns him that things here could go really bad for his father.  He tells his father to bring Alicia and come to town where he can help them.  Dad doesn't want to hear about it. 

Gabriel and Alicia reach their destination.  They climb up a tower and look out at the gigantic lake.  Freddy comes along in a boat and sees Gabriel's boat parked at the pier to the towers.  Freddy goes over to a little opening among the giant reeds and gets out of his boat.

Gabriel and Alicia arrive home.  He asks her again to come with him, but to where he still doesn't know.  So, Alicia ignores his request.

Gabriel paddles along the lake. Soon Freddy is following him in his boat with an outboard motor. 

Freddy comes home.  He packs his bag.  He goes over and tell Alicia to take Uncle and go.  Get out of here!  Go!  He leaves. 

Alicia prepares a dinner.  She eats part of it for her lunch.  She goes into Freddy's room.  Alicia sees a wood carving of a man done by Gabriel.

Uncle sees a dead man hanging from a pole stuck in the ground.  It's Gabriel. 

Alicia takes the two carvings she now has from Gabriel.  She has a bag with her and she starts walking away from the hotel. 


Good movie.  It kept my interest throughout.  The violence in Columbia over the drug wars leaves a young girl named Alicia an orphan.  She walks a long ways to another area entirely to ask her Uncle to take her in.  Uncle runs a dilapidated hotel by a lake in the mountains.  There is tension in the film because of the worry for the safety of Alicia.  Will the drug war violence come here to the hotel?  Will her Uncle or his son Freddy sexually abuse Alicia?  Will Freddy do something really violent to Alicia and her new friend Gabriel?   Alicia seems like a very nice person and the hope is that she will prosper in her new situation.  But will she?   That's the rub. 


Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.




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