Film: Ian Edelman’s “Puerto Ricans in Paris”


Olivia P. Tallet (Houston Chronicle, 3 June 2016) reports on Puerto Ricans in Paris, which she describes as “a Latino film aiming beyond a Latino audience.” The film, directed by Ian Edelman—and starring Edgar García, Luis Guzmán, Rosie Pérez, and Rosario Dawson—opens on June 10 in U.S. theaters.

When the HBO series “How to Make it in America” finished its final season in 2011, actor Luis Guzmán, who played the character Rene Calderon, decided it was time to venture out on his own with a team of buddies who wanted to produce a movie. [. . .] The result is “Puerto Ricans in Paris,” a comedy coming to theaters Friday. It tells the story of two New York Police Department detectives enlisted to catch the thief of a Parisian fashion designer’s latest handbag design. “It’s a buddy movie that has incredible production value to it,” Guzmán says. “It’s an example of what happens when a few friends get together and make good entertainment.”

Written and directed by Ian Edelman, the producer and screenwriter of “How to Make it in America,” “Puerto Ricans in Paris” also casts actors from the same series, including Edgar Garcia as Guzmán’s cop buddy. Much as in real life, Guzmán plays the role of his namesake agent Luis, a street-smart, unpolished “Nuyorican” suddenly transplanted to a Parisian high life that he doesn’t understand. The comedy is driven by the culture-clash absurdities of undercover cops Luis and Eddie, played by Garcia, an odd couple with unconventional investigative tactics.

Love, of course, is a component in the film. Actress Rosario Dawson plays the rejected ready-to-marry girlfriend of Luis, and Rosie Perez plays Eddie’s wife, a mother overwhelmed by financial burdens. Eddie promises her a windfall of money – a reward from the Parisian designer.

The low-budget production was filmed in Prague, Paris and New York over 17 days; most of the funding went to location shoots as opposed to the actors’ salaries.

Guzmán says he wanted to make “a stylish” movie with good comedy in the mix and without resorting to stereotypes about Latinos – even though his character, Luis, does sometimes slide into that same Puerto Rican stereotype he wanted to avoid. Guzmán points to the commonalities between himself and his character: Both Luises are “outgoing guys who like to find love and be loved and have fun, but at the same time, they love doing their job.”

Besides offering entertainment, Guzmán says the team had another purpose with this film: “We tell the world we (Latinos) are capable, and we don’t need Hollywood to give us permission to make a movie.” Guzmán insists “Puerto Ricans in Paris” is not a movie conceived for Latinos but for a general adult audience. “The problem in the past has been that Latinos who do make movies, they kind of pigeonhole themselves into just the Latino market,” he says. [. . .]

[Article accessed via the The NiLP Report on Latino Policy & Politics. For full article, see]

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