|Chapter title||Costa Rican Exceptionalism: Nostalgia, Costumbrismo, and Patriotism in Maikol Yordan de viaje perdido (Miguel Gómez, 2014)|
|Editors||Espinoza, M. and List, J.|
Costa Rica’s film scene has boomed since the twentieth century when only nine feature-length, fiction productions were released, and every year since 2009 the nation has witnessed several new cinematic releases. Both the highest-grossing and most-viewed Costa Rican film to date, Maikol Yordan de viaje perdido, came out in cinemas in 2014, attracting 770,000 viewers to these screens alone (Cortés 17)—a huge 17% of the population of the country—and breaking records along the way. The film’s director, Miguel Gómez, is far from an unknown quantity in the world of Costa Rican filmmaking, having made seven films to date and four before the release of Maikol Yordan. His works encompass many genres, and while he is the most prolific of Costa Rica’s directors, his productions show only a few consistent elements. In El cielo rojo (2008) and its sequel, El cielo rojo 2 (2015), a group of three young friends consider what they want to do with their adult lives, and a bildungsroman plays out against the backdrop of local humor. El sanatorio (2010), on the other hand, is a horror film set in an old sanatorium which is said to be haunted; El fin (2012) is an apocalyptic comedy; Italia 90: La película (2014) is a docu–drama which tells the story of the (now second) most successful Costa Rican national soccer team’s exploits in a World Cup (the 1990 tournament in Italy); while his most recent film, Amor viajero (2017), is a romantic comedy. Perhaps what all these films have in common is their deep-rooted tico characteristics, which can be seen in the actors and backdrops on screen, as well as the language and jokes woven into each narrative. Gómez is clear when he thinks about how he likes to make films: they must be profitable, and the only way of making a profit in Costa Rica seems to be to make films cheaply, almost exclusively for a local audience, and hope that this patriotic appeal brings in sales. This formula certainly worked in Maikol Yordan, and this chapter will consider the roots of its popularity, suggesting that in representing a type of nationalist nostalgia that harks back to the mythical creation story of Costa Rica, the film uses costumbrista techniques to revalorize an idealized past and evoke feelings of patriotism in its audience. Discussing the film in light of questions around presentations of the past and the interaction between cinema and national identity, this chapter analyzes the extent to which this film plays on the trope of the Euro-descendent, heteropatriarchal, humble farmer as common ancestor of all ticos in order to make a profit using patriotism as a popularity tool.
|Keywords||Costa Rican cinema|
|Maikol Yordan de viaje perdido|
|Book title||The Rise of Central American Film in the Twenty-First Century|
|Publisher||University of Florida Press|
|Published||29 Aug 2023|