7 Boxes

(7 Cajas)
(Paraguay, 2012, 100 mins, DCP)
In Spanish with English subtitles
CAST Celso Franco, Víctor Sosa, Lali González, Nico García, Paletita, Manuel Portillo

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17-year-old Victor grubs out a living with his wheelbarrow, delivering produce at a city market in Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion. He can scarcely believe his eyes when he’s handed half a C-note to babysit 7 boxes for a few hours (he gets the other half when the job is done). Of course it doesn’t take long before he wonders what his cargo might be, especially when the cops pile in.

Directing team Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori put half a dozen characters at cross-purposes and send them careening through the maze-like market mostly on foot, often pushing a wheelbarrow before them. A hit at the Toronto International Film Festival, 7 Boxes is a winning combination of slumdog neo-realism and larky thriller, delivered with a dynamic panache that makes a virtue of the filmmakers’ minimal resources. It’s an indie calling-card movie, South American style: raw, energetic, and confident. More surprisingly, it also does enough to make you care about the characters.

"7 Boxes is a rollicking good time at the movies that offers breathtaking action and suspense, humor and appealing characters all in one visually flashy package." Boyd van Hoelj, Indiewire

"Crackles with the desperate energy of forced innovation." Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

"7 Boxes has something for everybody." Chris Knight, National Post