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Pantaleón y las visitadoras
Captain Pantoja and the Special Services
The most successful Peruvian film of all times by director Francisco Lombardi with Salvador del Solar and Angie Cepeda. Peru, 1999, 118 minutes, Spanish. Get the film on DVD from,, Get the novel / the book by Mario Vargas Llosa from or

Added on October 7, 2010
The Nobel prize committee announced today that Mario Vargas Llosa has won the Nobel Prize in literature for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individuals resistance, revolt and defeat.

Article added on September 19, 2002  
When Mario Vargas Llosa published his novel Pantaleón y las visitadoras in 1973, it was quite a provocation - not only for the Peruvian military. The author also made a film of his book in 1974, shot in the Dominican Republic. It was a disaster, both commercially and artistically and Llosa's first and last film. 24 years later, Peruvian director Francisco Lombardi shot his version of the novel in a different social and political context. The provocation comes less from the film's political "message" than from a few nude scenes which largely explain the movie's success - which of course does not mean that the film has no other merits.
Mario Vargas Llosa's criticism of, among others, the Peruvian military and its double moral standards can still be felt in its "commercial" adaptation by Francisco Lombardi. Not only is film another medium than a novel making differences inevitable, but the public is also different. Furthermore, if a director wants to reach a maximum number of people, the script has to be attractive for a larger audience. This is exactly what Francisco Lombardi has managed to achieve: Pantaleón y las visitadoras is the most successful Peruvian film ever.
Captain Pantaleón Pantoja is a an upright but rather naive Peruvian officer who has to recruit a number of prostitutes in order to satisfy the needs of army soldiers based in the Amazon jungle. The hot climate provokes too many soldiers to commit sexual aggressions which damage the army's reputation. Therefore, after his initial dismay, the young officer embraces the unusual mission, armed with a laptop, good faith and ambition. He quickly delivers convincing results with women dressed in sexy clothes in the colors of the Peruvian flag.
However, the tropical rain forest with its exuberant vegetation and a no less exuberant woman of his "special services" squad, as the prostitutes are euphemistically called, do not leave Captain Pantoja himself indifferent. La Colombiana (Angie Cepeda) catches not only his attention but also his heart. The prostitute manages to overcome the officer's initial resistance in a scene underscored by Carlos Vives' song Fruta fresca (Fresh Fruit).
Of course, the relationship between the married soldier and the prostitute as well as the immoral sex squad set up by the captain catch the attention of the local population and in particular of a corrupt radio talk star called El Sinchi (Aristóteles Picho). Everything is directly heading towards a major and inevitable disaster...
Towards the end of the entertaining tragic sex comedy, Captain Pantoja, who has remarkable organizing skills, declines an offer to set up a lucrative, private enterprise for "special services". He prefers being humiliated by his superiors and sent to a remote post in the Andes to quitting the army, which is all he has in life, because, as he says himself, he is used to executing orders...
The free adaptation of the Mario Vargas Llosa novel by Lombardi lives less from satirizing the military jargon than from its leading actors, Salvador del Solar (*Lima, 1970) and the gorgeous Angie Cepeda, a Colombian actress and soap opera star born in 1974. By the way, Cepeda and Solar also play together in the telenovela Pobre Diabla.
The cast of Pantaleón y las visitadoras
Salvador del Solar - captain Pantaleón Pantoja.
Angie Cepeda - La Colombiana.
Mónica Sánchez - Pochita.
Pilar Bardem - Chuchupe.
Gianfranco Brero - general/General Collazos.
Gustavo Bueno - coronel/Oberst López.
Carlos Kaniowsky - capellán/Kaplan Beltrán.
Sergio Galliani - teniente/Oberleutnant Bacacorso.
Carlos Tuccio - general/General Escavino.
Aristóteles Picho - El Sinchi.
Pold Castello - Chupito.
Tatiana Astengo - Pechuga.
Norka Ramírez - Vanessa.
Patricia Cabrera - Lalita.
Maricielo Effio - Salomé.
Tula Rodríguez - Peludita.
Marisela Puicón - Sandra.
Rozana Yepez - Iris.
Nacira Atala - Coca.
Shirley Pfenning - Pichuza.

Biography of director Francisco Lombardi
Director Francisco Lombardi was born in Tacna, Peru, in 1949. In 1968, he studied at the Instituto de Cinematografica in Santa Fé, Argentina, until is was closed down by the army. He returned to Peru in 1969 where he finished his film studies and worked as a film critic at the Diario Correo and wrote for the magazine Hablemos de Cine. After  the adoption of a new legislation on film in Peru in 1974, Lombardi created his own production company, Inca Films. Until 1977, he shot short films which received several awards. After La ciudad y los perros in 1985, Pantaleón y las visitadoras is Lombardi's second adaptation of a novel by Mario Vargas Llosa for the cinema.

Filmography - films by director Francisco Lombardi
- Tinta roja, 2001; based on the novel by Alberto Fuguet.
- Pantaleón y las visitadors; aka Captain Pantoja and the Special Services; 1999.
- No se lo digas a nadie; aka Don't Tell Anyone; 1998.
- Bajo la piel; aka Under the Skin; aka Unter der Haut; 1996.
- Sin compasión; aka No Mercy; aka Sans pitié; 1994.
- Caídos del cielo; aka Fallen From Heaven; 1990.
- Puerto Verde; 1990.
- La boca del lobo; aka In the Mouth of the Wolf; aka The Lion's Den; 1988.
- La ciudad y los perros; aka The City and the Dogs; 1985.
- Maruja en el infierno; aka Maruja in Hell; 1983.
- Muerte de un magnate; 1980.
- Cunentos inmorales (segment "Los Amigos"); 1978.
- Muerte al amanecer; 1977.


At the beginning, there is an upright captain...

...who has to create a squad for special services... serve the army...

...which leads to an irresistible encounter...

...and to troubles - not only with his wife.

Pantaleón y las visitadoras is showing in Swiss cinemas in 2002, distributed by Cinematograph (all photos by

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.