Beyond "Encanto": How Is Colombia Represented In Foreign Cinema?

The Premiere Of the Trailer For Disney's "Encanto" Provoked All Kinds Of Reactions.

Still from the film 'Colombiana' and 'Gemini'

Disney recently presented the trailer for Encanto, an animated film inspired by Colombia. The film joins other productions related to Latin America and has generated all kinds of reactions. Photos: YT-Sony, YT-Paramount

LatinAmerican Post | Gregory Ahumada

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Leer en español: Más allá de "Encanto", ¿cómo se ve Colombia en el cine extranjero?

The premiere of the trailer for Disney's "Encanto" caused all kinds of reactions. The portrayal of Colombia in the movies has been evolving from that image associated with drug trafficking and violence. So today, in its independence day, we show you some films that have portrayed Colombia .

Disney recently presented the trailer for Encanto, an animated film inspired by Colombia. The film joins other productions related to Latin America and has generated all kinds of reactions.

The film will show a magical and colorful portrayal of the country, different from that dark vision of previous years. For this reason, and commemorating the country's independence, we bring you a list of films and references related to Colombia to study how that image has been changing over time.

Also read: Animated Movies Inspired by Latin America to Watch While You Wait "Encanto"

Blow (2001)

Based on a true story, Johnny Depp plays the American drug lord George Jung. Jung started out as a marijuana trafficker and after associating with the Colombian drug lord Carlos Lehder he escalated to international cocaine trafficking. He ended up being a key piece for Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel in the drug trade to the United States.

Highly recommended, you can watch it on HBO GO | Max.


Barry Seal: Only in America (2017)

Based on the true story of Barry Seal. Tom Cruise plays this American commercial pilot who, after collaborating with the CIA in espionage missions, ends up associated with the Medellín Cartel in the transport of drugs to the United States in the 1980s. The film was filmed in part in Medellín and Santa Marta.

Very entertaining movie with an outstanding performance by Tom Cruise.


Colombiana (2011)

This film caused a strong controversy at the time, due to the direct way in which Colombia was associated with hit men and drugs. It shows the story of a Colombian girl who becomes a hitman after her family is murdered and tries to seek revenge.

It starred Zoe Saldaña; it was not well received by critics.


Collateral Damage (2002)

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a firefighter who travels to Colombia in search of revenge, after a guerrilla killed his family in an attack in the United States.

The film received bad reviews and Colombia was presented as a wild and violent place.


Special mentions

In other films, slight references to Colombia have appeared. As in Behind enemy lines Colombia (2009), Lord of War (2005) or the legendary Scarface 1980) with Al Pacino. We also want to mention Imminent Danger (1993) with Harrison Ford. There are also funny and curious references to Colombia in movies, like the Colombian drug trafficker in Bedazzled (2000).

 Mr. And Mrs. Smith (2005) also  Bogota as a jungle and tropical place.

There has also been room for romantic movies. Let us remember the film based on the work of Gabriel Garíca Márquez, Love in the Times of Cholera (2007) or the adventure Romancing the Stone (1984) with Michael Douglas.



More recently, the country has been used as a recording location. In Gemini man (2018) starring Will Smith, some scenes were filmed in Cartagena.



In Mile 22 (2018), starring Mark Wahlberg was also shot in Bogotá. 

The image that has been portrayed of Colombia in the cinema in recent years has been changing. It is not always accurate, much less appropriate. Colombia will surely gain more relevance in the coming years in the field of cinema in a positive way and the premiere of Encanto is a great step in that direction.