Montevideo Tales #13

Alien robots wreaking havoc on 18 de julio avenue, firing rockets at Palacio Salvo and bombing Tres Cruces bus station – it’s a ALIEN ATTACK on MONTEVIDEO!!

Uruguayan film director Fede Alvarez shot to Hollywood fame with horror films Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe. However not many people know that Alvarez was whisked to Hollywood  just thirty days after a music video clip he had made in 2009 featuring a mad alien attack on Montevideo went viral.

The video was called Ataque de Pánico and was made for rock band Snake. It featured gigantic robot aliens marching on Montevideo and dramatic special effects as they blow away iconic buildings in the capital.

A rock video made for just 300 dollars became the talk of the internet.

So what Uruguayan scenes can you spot?

The video opens with scenes of a child under the Santa Lucia bridge, some 15 miles outside of Montevideo coming in from Colonia. Buildings attacked include the Antel Telecommunications Tower (2m 05sec), the Legislative Palace where the national assembly meets (2m 11sec), Montevideo’s main street 18 de julio (2m 34sec), the Plaza de Independencia (2m 41sec), the building where the lovely old bookshop Mas Puro Verso is located (2m 45sec), Tres Cruces where the bus station is located (3m), the seat of the Municipality of Montevideo (3m 12sec) and the iconic Palacio Salvo (3m 17sec) – noooooooo!!!

Don’t Breathe – Made by Uruguayans

Don’t Breathe, Alvarez‘ second major film, took almost 90 million dollars in the first few weeks. Though critics called the film “the best American [my italics] horror film in twenty years”, it was written by Alvarez and another Uruguayan Rodo Sayagués. Alvarez’s long-time director of photography is also Uruguayan.

So, is there any hint that Don’t Breathe, a Hollywood-made film set in Detroit, is written and directed by Uruguayans?

Yes, says Uruguayan film critic Gonzalo Curbelo. He says that the plot takes place in Detroit, a former industrial giant but now broken and “almost Third World”. The heroine wants to leave for California at all cost, alleging that “everyone’s already left”. It’s impossible not to associate this with the ambitions of any aspiring artist in Uruguay, says Curbelo.

And, on a more obvious note. With a wink to three million Uruguayan compatriots, a distinctive thermos flask pops up in a cupboard in a scene of Don’t Breathe.

MORE ON CINEMA AND URUGUAY

The Guru recommends five films

Clever – a 2016 hit film made in Uruguay

The Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo recommends ten Uruguayan films you must watch before you come to Uruguay.

Photo: Still from the film

[Article first published on Sep 11, 2016 and updated at the date above]

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