Cine Las Americas 2011
By Don Simpson | April 3, 2011
Director: Nicolas Entel
Writers: Nicolas Entel, Pablo Farina
The titular padre — Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar — was gunned down by Medellín (or meddling, depending on your perspective) authorities in 1993. As the leader of the drug cartel that once controlled 80 percent of the global cocaine market, Escobar was public enemy number one (he was also known as the “World’s Greatest Outlaw”). In some circles, Escobar is regarded as the richest and most successful criminal in history (other circles claim he was the second richest criminal ever, after Amado Carrillo Fuentes). In 1989, Forbes magazine estimated Escobar’s personal fortune at $25 billion (U.S.). But all good things must come to an end…
Two widely admired Colombian politicians — Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara and presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan — were murdered at Escobar’s command after they vowed to shut down his drug trade. Soon, Escobar and his family were forced to live underground — often not together. Upon Escobar’s death in 1993, Escobar’s wife, son and daughter sought safety in exile; they tried Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, South Africa and Mozambique, finally settling down in Argentina.
Sins of My Father finds Escobar’s son — who has since legally changed his name to Sebastián Marroquín — still residing in Buenos Aires, working as an architect and industrial designer. As it turns out, Argentine documentary filmmaker Nicolás Entel pitched a story of reconciliation to Marroquín, convincing him to come out of anonymity in order to contact the surviving sons of Lara and Galan. Marroquín, open to Entel’s pitch, reaches out to the Lara and Galan’s sons — all four of whom have followed in their fathers’ political footsteps — by writing them an impassioned letter begging for their forgiveness and asking them to help send a powerful message of peace and forgiveness with the potential to rebuild Colombia. Since I assume that a majority of our readership does not know the outcome of Marroquín’s request, I will refrain from spoiling it.
Entel’s documentary utilizes archival news footage, home videos and photographs of the Escobar family, and new interviews with Marroquín and his mother as well as the Lara and Galan heirs. Though by no means a positive portrait of Escobar, Sins of My Father is not afraid to point out that Escobar was a Robin Hood-type hero to the poor families of Medellín — he invested millions of U.S. dollars into building churches, soccer fields and even a housing complex. Entel reveals that Escobar did much more harm than good, though, and he left his family with an insurmountable amount of guilt for evil sins that they had nothing to do with (other than temporarily enjoying a life of extravagant luxury built upon blood money). The greatest curse of all is Marroquín’s uncanny physical resemblance to his father, from his frame, to his cheeks, eyes and double chin; despite the name change, there is no denying that Marroquín is Escobar’s kin. The question is, will Colombians’ — especially the Lara and Galan families — be willing to forgive Marroquín for his father’s dirty deeds?
Sins of My Father screened as part of the Cine Las Americas Signature Series at the Alamo Drafthouse.