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Megunica (2008)

A documentary that follows the Italian artist Blu on a tour of South America, Megunica – the title is an amalgam of the countries visited: Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Argentina – is represented by a poster that is literally a work of art. Designed and drawn by Blu, the fun here is in interpreting the image and what it might mean.

I say “fun” because this is a movie I haven’t seen, but the poster is so intriguing it’s already had me trying to locate a copy of Megunica so I can discover if the image is relevant to a sequence in the movie, or if it’s a stand alone piece that the makers felt would be fitting just for the poster. (This is what a really good poster should do: not be just part of a marketing exercise, but grab the attention and be fascinating enough to make someone want to see the movie it’s promoting, even – and especially – if it’s a movie they might not plan to see normally.)

When looking at the poster, two things spring to mind immediately. The first is the idea that the man we see painting a wall and covered in flies is somehow attempting to wipe the slate clean. With South America’s history of exploitation and corruption in mind, Blu’s painter could be trying to make the point that it’s time for change, a time to start over. If so, it’s a powerful statement, at once provocative and profound. The second possibility is that it’s a self-portrait, a representation of Blu himself, an artist known for his murals and graffiti work the world over. What better way to “introduce” him than as the focus of the poster, and doing what he does best?

Both ideas, of course, may be erroneous, but again, that’s part of the fun. The flies may be representative of the conditions where the movie was made, or a metaphor for  South American societies, or they could be “just” flies. But whichever notion is correct, or if they’re there for another reason entirely, the fact that this poster can prompt even this much debate is a triumph.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to let me know (especially if you’ve seen the movie).