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El Huaso: The Last Rodeo

Distributed by Magic Lantern Films, PO Box 8567, New York, NY 10116; 646-926-6760
Producer n/a
Directed by Carlo Guillermo Proto
DVD, color, 78 min., in English and Spanish with English subtitles
Sr. High - General Adult
Suicide, Sociology, Mental Health, Psychotherapy, Counseling

Reviewed by Rodney Birch, Reference Librarian, George Fox University

Date Entered: 6/3/2014

Carlo Proto’s documentary provides an inside look at both the personal and familial struggles of a man who struggles with suicidal thoughts. On the outside, Señor Gustavo Proto seemed perfect: he was a successful businessman and had a loving family, yet he struggled with suicidal thoughts. The struggle stemmed from a desire to be with his family, yet not wanting to be a burden to them, and being able to provide for them after he was gone. Further insight is provided into the basis of the struggle through candid conversations with physicians, counselors, and family members. One piece of the struggle stems from Señor Proto’s family being left destitute following his father’s suicide after he became physically disabled and depressed following a stroke. Additionally, Señor Proto’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so Señor Proto watched her as she became more and more dependent on him for care. Because of this, Señor Proto didn’t want to be a burden to his family. Provocative conversations between the children and father identify the struggle the family expresses in not understanding the struggle, but still wanting to be supportive of their father. The film concludes by indicating that Señor Proto had two suicide attempts, the second one resulted in Señor Proto’s death. The documentary would be a valid resource for providing some understanding to those struggling with suicidal thoughts. The conversations are provocative, and there is some swearing. This DVD would be a useful resource for projects in sociology, family counseling, mental health, and psychotherapy.