Change Yourself…Change The World.

7 Cajas: Paraguay’s Hit Movie of the Century
October 7, 2012, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Paraguay, Video Post

Paraguay recently released it’s first commercial film, ‘7 Cajas’ (7 Boxes), a Spanish/Guaraní masterpiece. It’s a drama set in Mercado 4, a gigantic shopping district in Asunción, home to a large Asian community (well, large for Paraguay) and generally a hub for drugs, firearms, and plenty of illegal trading (I once saw a woman there trying to pawn off a baby toucan). The movie has been a huge hit in Paraguay, with theaters continuously selling out every showing, even months after the movie has been released.

I’m a huge foreign movie buff. I love learning about foreign cultures, listening to different languages, hearing beautifully unusual music and seeing the backdrop of exotic places. A few of my all-time favorite motives (to name a few) include Water (set in India), Tsotsi (South Africa), Jodhaa Akbar (India), House of Flying Daggers (China), Sin Nombre (Mexico), and Departures (Japan). I love movies that depict a lifestyle so different from my own.

‘7 Cajas’ took on an entirely new meaning for me. It’s a foreign film that perfectly depicts life in Paraguay, but since I’ve lived here for the past year and a half, it’s a life that I know and understand. From the big things, like poor Paraguayans concepts of needs that drive them (shiny new technology) and the machismo society that underlines the entire movie, to little things like giggling over the cheap bedazzled jean shorts the actresses wore, which are so common in Paraguay. The film was also shown in Guaraní with Spanish subtitles, and I was more than pleasantly surprised to realize that I understood most of the movie without even reading the Spanish. There were also elements of the movie that are hilarious, but mostly because I’ve lived here for a year and a half and understand the cultural context. There were moments in the movie theater where the audience was howling with laughter from some Guaraní slang, or guffawing at the near-perfect depiction of policemen in Paraguay. Suffice to say, I found the movie thrilling, moving, and hilarious. I loved ‘7 Cajas’ about 1,000 times more than any other foreign movie because I really understood it. I’ve already seen in twice, and I can’t wait for it to come on DVD so I can snatch it up. Even when I leave Paraguay after the Peace Corps, I can always travel back there through ‘7 Cajas.’

‘7 Cajas’ is starting to make international buzz after its debut in the Toronto film festival. Fox News recently wrote that the Low-Budget Paraguayan Film Could Become Next ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. I am super proud of Paraguay for this incredible film and its realistic portrait of the country! Seriously, I was grinning from ear to ear when this article came out. Paraguay has only come out with about 10 movies in it’s entire history, and none of them have been commercial on a level like this. It’s fantastic, I’m thrilled for Paraguay’s growing economic development, and I really hope that this movie does become as famous as ‘Slumdog Millionaire!’

Check out the trailer (now with English subtitles!) below. I hope you enjoy it- hopefully it will hit international theaters in a few months!

Note: This trailer has explicit language, so don’t watch this with a child in the room!

7 Comments so far
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I watched the trailer and now I really want to watch this movie. I can’t seem to find it online though 😦 I’ll just have to buy a pirated version when I get to Paraguay.

Comment by josh

I saw 7 Cajas and i must agree with you.. The best… Last year was my first trip to Paraguay and i hope is not my last one. I want to go back and stay. .

Comment by Eugene Hernandez

You should! Paraguay is so great 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the film!

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

Although I found the movie to be excellent and should be nominated for foreign movie awards, I don´t agree that it portrays the reality of the entire country as you seem to suggest. The movie is based on the Mercado 4 scene which is a very poor market in Asuncion. However, this area of Asuncion is only a small section of the city and you never mention the many high end shopping malls and beautiful districts such as Shopping Mcal Lopez, Shopping del Sol, Shopping Villa Morra, Pinedo Shopping, Shopping Mariano, etc that also make up the rest of the city. These other shopping centers are just as nice as those in the United States. For me to agree with you that this movie is a reality of all of Paraguay, well then I would have to say to you that the city of Detroit or Flint, Michigan or all the slums in US Cities (Bronx, NY, LA, New Orleans, etc) (decaying, extremely poor, filled with gangs and drugs, corrupt, and bankrupt cities) represent all of the United States!!! Anyone can understand why a poor country like Paraguay has poor people like this but how can a rich country like the US justify having millions of homeless and drug adicts roaming the streets, and even children going hungry or means of getting medical attention. I have seen homeless people looking through trash for food in freezing winter cold weather Washington DC and New York and yet no one seems to care in the US.

Comment by Dave

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments. Shoping Mcal Lopez, Shopping del Sol, Villa Mora, etc. exist in Paraguay, but is an extremely unrealistic portrait of 99% of the rest of the country. You can find nice malls in any country in the world, including some of the poorest; I’ve been to many of them. There are many gorgeous, well-maintained, and beautiful areas all over the world that have malls, parks, cinemas, luxurious houses and restaurants, etc. That doesn’t mean it’s a realistic portrait of what the grand majority of the rest of the country have access to.

Moreover, my comment about ‘7 Cajas’ being a perfect depiction of Paraguay didn’t have to do with the visuals of Mercado 4. Mercado 4 is not a realistic portrait of Paraguay either (though it is definitely more realistic than Shopping del Sol). ‘7 Cajas’ depicts Paraguay through the culture of the film- through the Guarani slang, police corruption, personal motivations, machismo society, etc.

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

where can I buy an English subtitled copy of the film?

Comment by donna

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