By Belén Loaiza
Globalization is a growing phenomenon, which has caused changes in different aspects of culture including cinema. For example, the influence of American Western films in the Ecuadorian cinema, was important in the history of Ecuadorian films as in the social life. For that reason, this paper will focus on the most iconic Ecuadorian films of the 20’s: El Tesoro de Atahualpa and El terror de la frontera.
In Ecuadorian movies, there’s a film that has been classified as a Western: El terror de la frontera. It tells the adventures of a texan who finds hazards in his town. Since it follows the terms of its gender, from the beginning a happy ending, where the protagonist ends with the damsel in distress, is anticipated. Likewise, scenes of American westerns were used to intensify the action and drama. (Noboa, 1995).
On the contrary, Ecuador’s first film: El Tesoro de Atahualpa, turns around Jaime Garcia, who gets clues to find the treasure of the inca Atahualpa. His search is shattered by an ambitious foreigner who wants to take over it and the love of Raquel (Cinemateca Digital del Ecuador, 2016). As the synopsis tells, the movie is composed by some Western’s elements: a treasure, a damsel, and the battle between ambition and justice. Even so, this movie hasn’t been ranked as a western (Loaiza, 2016).
While in the first movie, the plot of a typical Western is followed, a cowboy who fights against the foreign evil that surrounds his grounds. In the second movie, there is a twist: the antagonists aren’t indigenous, but a foreigner wishing what belongs to the natives. So that, their difference resides in the stereotype or the realities they present.
Even there’re differences between the ideas that each one communicates, the Western was a major influence for Ecuadorian society and cinema. Although our cinema hasn’t had the same role in USA as the American films had in ours, it is surprising how Western inspired people not only to recreate it but also to use it as a means to create different stories, exchange roles, and show the Ecuadorian environment and its history.
Cinemateca Digital del Ecuador. (2016). Cinemateca Digital del Ecuador: El tesoro de Atahualpa. Recuperado el 25 de Septiembre de 2016, de LA TRAMA: http://www.cinematecaecuador.com/Tematicas/Detalle/51
Noboa, W. G. (1995). Cine silente en Ecuador, 1895-1935. Quito, Ecuador: Casa de la cultura Ecuatoriana.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Recuperado el 25 de Septiembre de 2016, de Western (genre): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_(genre)
Loaiza, Y. (2016). Tras los pasos del Cine en Ecuador: evolución y desarrollo de la producción nacional ecuatoriana. Universidad de Los Hemisferios, Quito.
(Foto de portada tomada de https://www.vistazo.com/seccion/gente/un-tesoro-de-pelicula)