Bond and Bolivia

God I love Daniel Craig. The nonsexual man-crush I have on him almost rivals the one I have for Barack Obama. I better balance this one out quick… what about Rebecca Twigley, she looks a bit all right, you know, I wouldn’t hesitate.

I really would have preferred for Quantum of Solace to not have been based in “Bolivia” (I’ll get to the reasons for the talking marks in a sec). It was just too distracting for me. I’ve spent the better part of the last three years thinking about Bolivia, and we go to the movies to escape our lives and all that? Call me a social leper but it was my first cinema visit since two I saw in January in… Bolivia, the last of which was with the girl of my dreams who has probably forgotten about the little moments that made her fleetingly love me.

I’m a geography nut, so seeing D.C. hop across a bunch of old rooftops in Siena, Italy or one-handedly breaking some guy’s wrist in Haiti (which was actually filmed in Panama) really floated my boat. If it’s a safe thing to do I want to practice French by living in either Haiti or Mali for half a year. Sounds fucked up but it’s that or pay 100,000 Euros per month in France, and I would take Bolivia over Spain any day of the year so maybe my thinking isn’t so off. I suspect those sorts of countries (fine, I’ll say it: the dirt poor ones) are still in tune with the emotional side of being human in a way that Europe and Australia and Co. no longer are, which undoubtedly makes them more fun (along with their cheaper prices). The reverse argument is that they are poor because they don’t care about the business side of things.

Back to Bond. So what if Haiti was filmed in Panama, same run-down Afro-Latin vibe, who’s counting? But then he went to “Bolivia” and I couldn’t just let go.

I’m not blaming the movie filming itself. It’s too fucked up to try to make a movie in Bolivia: it’s too remote to get in and out of and things move too slowly there to get anything done. But I’m just sayin’, La Paz is much curvier in real life, it’s downright surreal; Bond’s “La Paz” was actually filmed in flat Mexico for a generic Latin feel. But they get the feel kind of ok in the flick. The Bolivian taxis and police uniforms in the flick are spot on.

At least now people understand that Bolivians aren’t all just the braided Indian women who trotted to and fro in the film, just like not all of us are drawling Steve Irwin/Croc Dundee clones. That’s a cliché that annoys quite a few Bolivian women. Thanks Olga Kurylenko, for presenting yourself to the world as hot and Bolivian. Still, she and the General don’t look Bolivian, they just don’t have the eyes for it, although the fleeting servant girl towards the end could have been.

Again, I’m not blaming Bond, cause even Bolivian flicks that represent themselves cast white Mexican soapie actresses as their poster “Bolivians”. That’s the film business, reality gets shunted aside. D.C. and the chick would have certainly died of exposure that night they spent in the Bolivian desert cave; that area on the mountain is bloody freezing. She was wearing a cocktail dress for God’s sake.

They survived a desert night wearing this

They survived a desert night wearing this

The desert scenes were done in northern Chile, only a few hours’ drive from south-west Bolivia. I passed through there by bus this time last year. I willingly chose to pass through the desert at the expense of Argentina’s green fields, because any sense of a place where there are less people, whether in metro Melbourne or the desert of Bond’s “Bolivia”, make me more comfortable. I love the idea of deserts. I got on the bus and as it pulled away across the dusty absence of grass that can be seen in Quantum of Solace I was alone and seeing something untouched. I felt a quiet exhilaration.

5 thoughts on “Bond and Bolivia

  1. I know films are always made where its cheaper and stuff, but I just hate to think that they’re not made in the country they’re portraying. It seems so wrong to me. I’d be offended if a movie set in aus was made in the US and played by American actors, that seems kind of elitist or racist, but I just like it to be authentic. Your liking of uninhabited places reminds me of John Baptists trek into the mountains in Perfume (except without the crazy psychokiller part).

  2. Well its the story of a man born in the 1800s in the most putrid smelling place ever, a fish market on top of an old burial ground of diseased rotting corpses in Paris, but he was born with no scent, and it made people wary of him without knowing why, so they treated him badly. Anyway he has no smell, but he has the best nose in the world and even though he can’t name them all he can distinguish them perfectly which of course leads him to be taken in by a famous perfumer who exploits him.

    Its Jean Baptiste, not John, but anyway he hates people so he goes on a massive journey into the wilderness to find a place completely uninhabited, with no smell of people, however faint. So he finds it in a cave and lives there for like 7years.

    Its a really good book, by Patrick Suskind, and what makes it so amazing is the detail and descriptions in particular because so much is decribed by scent rather than what you would see. Theres a movie of it as well, but I think its probably better read because you get to see how good the writing and descriptions are. Its not lengthy either, you could read it in a day or two.

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