Although most people are usually excited to hear about a movie being shot in the city where they live, there are also people who get annoyed by the big Hollywood machine rolling into town and taking over the streets. Although movie productions can give a local economy a temporary boost, there are also unfortunate side effects that result from them as well, environmental or otherwise. In the case of a small remote town in northern Chile, where they are shooting the latest James Bond film Quantum of Solace, mayor Carlos Lopez became so enraged by what he saw that he reportedly caused a public disturbance on set, interrupting filming, and the police were forced to detain him.
What was he so upset about? Well, Lopez says that he didn’t like the excessive police presence in town, which disrupted the daily lives of the residents and reminded him of what life was like under a previous dictatorship. “For a town that has just 1,000 residents, sending in special forces and water cannon, preventing people from walking in the street, reminded me of the worst of the Pinochet years.” He also doesn’t like the fact that Chile is actually being used to represent the neighbouring country of Bolivia on screen.
He does bring up some valid points. Obviously someone must have given the okay for the movie to be shot in this city, but perhaps it wasn’t made clear the extent to which they would be taking over. Also, I think film crews need to be sensitive to local culture and history. But the other issue I’m wondering about is whether or not it’s unfair or dishonest to use one country as a substitute for another in a movie. I know most Canadians seem to be proud whenever Toronto or Vancouver are used to represent a major U.S. city… but we all know Canadians have an inferiority complex to begin with! What do you think? Does Carlos Lopez have a right to be angry?