EL COMANDANTE’S HEARSE

LA CARROZA DE EL COMANDANTE

By David LIPSZYC

LDG FILMS SA - as PROD

Black comedy - Development 2020

That the government of Venezuela should ask Fernando Alcaráz, an undertaker from Medellin, for his luxury hearse -a glass-sided ’98 Lincoln- for the funeral procession of the departed Hugo Chávez was an honor that filled him with pride. It was taken to Caracas. The problem would be gettin back.

Festivals
& Awards

Guadalajara FICG 2016
Coproduction Meeting
    • Year of production
    • 2020
    • Genres
    • Black comedy
    • Countries
    • ARGENTINA, COLOMBIA, MEXICO
    • Languages
    • SPANISH
    • Budget
    • 0.6 - 1 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • David LIPSZYC
    • Writer(s)
    • David LIPSZYC
    • Synopsis
    • It all begins with a phone call. The call is from Venezuela, from the Blanco Funeral Home. They ask Fernando Alcaráz for a glass-sided hearse for the Chávez funeral. It is vital, they explain, that the people see El Comandante’s coffin. The Venezuelan Air Force sends a plane to Antioquia to pick up the car. There is not much time; the details are finalized at the speed of light. The funeral is the next day. And so in the blink of an eye the luxurious Lincoln is whisked away aboard a Hercules airplane. Everything is done quickly, even the paperwork to export the vehicle. So hastily is it all done that apparently some customs form is overlooked. The only thing that matters is for the hearse to make it to Caracas on time. And it does. The funeral ends. The hearse appears in photos and videos broadcast all over the world. There goes the dearly departed Chávez on his final journey. But the plane from the Venezuelan Air Force never returns. And neither does the car.
      In a confuse situation the Venezuelan government tries to keep the hearse, based on Alcaraz in his manifested admiration to Chavez and the fact that he gave the car for free, moved by a commercial interest and gain renown and fame. His attitude is seen by members of his social class as a betrayal and ty to revenge an punish Fernando.
      He was busy in his profession, now famous, he forgot his chariot beloved but night appeared to him in dreams and nightmares.
      Thus begins Fernando’s outrageous odyssey to reclaim his prized possession, pitting him against the bureaucracies of both Colombia and Venezuela, and endangering his very life.
      Initially, there is disagreement as to whether the hearse would be flown back or not. Then there are delays from Venezuela in establishing a return date. And so months pass. Eventually, the Colombian media learn of the situation and turn the matter into an international incident amid already inflamed tensions between the two nations; soon after Chávez’s death, Colombia had publicly accused Venezuela of supporting the FARC rebels. And so both governments use the “hearse” issue to score points in the larger diplomatic dispute.
      Until the Lincoln reappears on the Venezuelan side of the border with Colombia. Fernando goes to retrieve his hearse. But the car’s reentry into Colombia goes unregistered. And so it is considered smuggled in; as a result, it is confiscated, handed over to the State and auctioned off, all of this in the face of its stunned owner. After many adversities he ended up in jail. But as God squeezes but does not strangle managed to break free.
      The owners of the Colombian funeral home do not give up. They find the person who acquired the vehicle and buy it from him for $60,000. And if that were not enough, the most prominent families of both countries now regularly request “Chávez’s hearse” for the funerals of their dearly departed.
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