Comedy on Mexico income gap a big screen hit
This undated promotional image released by Warner Bros. Studios shows actors, from left, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Karla Souza, Juan Pablo Gil and Gonzalo Vega in the movie "Nosotros los Nobles," or “We are the Nobles.” The Mexican riches-to-rags movie has opened to packed theaters in a country with one of the world's widest income gaps, and a love for laughing at misfortune. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Studios)
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A construction magnate's preppy son is forced to drive one of Mexico City's battered green buses, while his spoiled sister waits tables at a cantina in a miniskirt and non-designer shoes. Their credit cards have been canceled, their BMWs and mansion seized.
The Mexican riches-to-rags movie, "We are the Nobles" has opened to packed theaters in a country with one of the world's widest income gaps — and a love for laughing at misfortune. More than 1 million people showed up in the first week to see the story of an impresario who fakes a government raid on his riches to teach his children the value of work.
Only a Hollywood blockbuster featuring Bruce Willis and DreamWorks' latest 3D animation beat it at the box office last weekend, the second-biggest opening for a domestic film here in more than 10 years.
"Latin America is a region where middle class is very small," said writer and director Gary "Gaz"Alazraki. "So I thought if you want to capture the mood of the public with cinema, that's the first place to look, the contrast between rich and poor."
In the movie, patriarch German Noble's eldest son spends his days at daddy's company dreaming up big ideas, such as mixing the world's largest rum and Coke in Mexico City's storied Aztec Stadium. His daughter is engaged to a failed businessman and aspires to open a restaurant on her father's dime. The youngest is a hipster who preaches against capitalism, even as dad pays his private college tuition — until he is expelled for sleeping with a professor.
After surviving a heart attack and getting a second chance at life, Noble decides to stage a raid on his Beverly Hills-like home.
"Can someone please explain why they are confiscating all our stuff, as if we were in Venezuela?" the agitated daughter, Barbie, demands to know in the Mexican equivalent of Valley speak.
This undated promotional image released by Warner Bros. Studios shows actors, from left, Luis Gerardo Mendez, Juan Pablo Gil, Gonzalo Vega and Karla Souza in the movie "Nosotros los Nobles," or “We are the Nobles.” The Mexican riches-to-rags movie has opened to packed theaters in a country with one of the world's widest income gaps, and a love for laughing at misfortune. In Mexico, 10 percent of the people held nearly 40 percent of the wealth in 2010, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America. The world's richest man, Carlos Slim, holds more than 6 percent himself. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Studios)
"They discovered fraud," German Noble tells her.
"Jesus Christ," she answers in English.