Watch La Fiesta del Chivo
- 2 hr 12 min
La Fiesta del Chivo, a 2005 film directed by Luis Llosa, is a cinematic adaptation of Mario Vargas Llosa's eponymous novel. The movie takes place in the Dominican Republic and follows several interconnected storylines that culminate in the assassination of the Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. The film begins with Urania Cabral, portrayed by Isabella Rossellini in a captivating performance, returning to the Dominican Republic after a thirty-year absence. Urania, the daughter of Senator Agustin Cabral, was once a young girl in the country during the final days of Trujillo's rule. Through a series of flashbacks and present-day sequences, we see the events that led to Urania's departure from the Dominican Republic and the traumatic experiences that led her to cut ties with her father for three decades.
As Urania tries to come to terms with her past and the father she has not seen in so long, we are introduced to Trujillo himself. The dictator, portrayed with an unsettling mix of charm and savagery by Tomas Milian, is shown at the peak of his power. We see how Trujillo operated, how he controlled and manipulated the country, and how he maintained his grip on power through fear and violence. We also see the toll that his reign has taken on the people of the Dominican Republic, as well as the divisions and animosity that still linger long after his death.
As the movie progresses, we meet several other characters whose lives intersect in various ways. Among them are General Antonio Imbert, played with a calculated intensity by Paul Freeman, who was one of the key figures in the plot to overthrow Trujillo; Homero, a young idealist who becomes involved with a resistance movement; and the Mirabal sisters, who were historical figures in the anti-Trujillo movement and whose story has been told in several other films and books.
As the various characters and their storylines unfold, the tension builds towards the inevitable climax: the assassination of Trujillo. The movie does an excellent job of building up to this moment, relying on a combination of historical accuracy, dramatic tension, and skilled performances from its cast to create a sense of anticipation and dread. When the assassination finally occurs, it is as intense and shocking as it should be, and the immediate aftermath is handled with a somberness and respect for the real-life tragedies that followed.
Throughout La Fiesta del Chivo, there are several themes and motifs that run throughout the various storylines. These include the power of memory and its ability to both haunt and heal us, the devastating impact of tyranny and oppression, and the nature of sacrifice and the cost of fighting for what is right. The movie does a fantastic job of weaving these themes together, allowing them to complement and enhance one another without ever feeling heavy-handed or preachy.
Overall, La Fiesta del Chivo is a gripping and powerful movie that does justice to the novel on which it is based. Its talented cast, compelling storylines, and skilled direction make it a film that is deserving of a wider audience. For anyone interested in exploring the history of the Dominican Republic, the legacy of Trujillo, or the complexities of dictatorship and resistance, this movie is an essential watch.