Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Piedra, Papel o Tijera

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Paper covers rock: Venezuelan filmmaker Hernán Jabes compares “rock, paper or scissors” to the uncertainties of life. (Adrian Geyler)

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The popular children’s game of Piedra, Papel o Tijera (Rock, Paper or Scissors) is a lesson in chance and luck. Venezuelan filmmaker Hernán Jabes applies the same lesson to life in the violent and unpredictable environment of Caracas in his new film of the same name.

The 110-minute movie focuses on the members of two Venezuelan households—one wealthy, one poor—whose paths cross, with tragic consequences. Héctor, a pilot, lives in the wealthier eastern section of Caracas with his wife, Mariana, and son, Luis. When Hector’s son is kidnapped by Christian, a poor buhonero (informal worker) desperate to pay off his outstanding debts, the lives of both families become enmeshed in a drama that explores both the uncertainty of fate and the pressures of modern life.

Although Jabes is a native of Chile, he has lived in Venezuela since he was a toddler and is no stranger to the pressure-cooker life of Venezuela’s capital. He got a break in 2009, when his project caught the attention of the Centro Nacional Autónomo de Cinematografía (CNAC), the state entity that promotes and regulates Venezuelan film, opening new sources of funding.

Piedra, Papel o Tijera premiered in Venezuela on June 22, and by September nearly 210,000 people had seen the film—making it this year’s most-watched movie. And the accolades continue: the film was selected in August to represent Venezuela for “Best Foreign Language Film” at the 85th Academy Awards.

“This feels like winning an Olympic medal; I am honored,” says the director, 43. Final nominations for this category will be announced in January.

Watch a trailer for Piedra, Papel o Tijera below:


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