Pantaleón y las
Captain Pantoja and the Special
The most successful Peruvian film
of all times
by director Francisco Lombardi with Salvador del Solar and
Peru, 1999, 118 minutes,
Spanish. Get the film on DVD from Amazon.com,
Amazon.de, Amazon.ca. Get the novel
/ the book by Mario Vargas Llosa from
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
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
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
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
- 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;
- 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...
...to 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 http://cinematograph.ch).