Sealed Cargo

(Carga sellada)
Julia Vargas Weise | Drama, Comedy, Fiction

2015 | 107 minutes | Bolivia, France, Mexico, Venezuela

A lively rejoinder to Bolivia's status as a dumping ground for the world's industrial waste. Rich in symbolism and in spirit, Sealed Cargo is a terrific ride through the seldom-seen Altiplano and a potent reminder of what really matters.


With a promotion in the offering and his beautiful wife Nena at his side, things couldn't be better for ambitious policeman Hector Mariscal. Before he can enjoy the good life, though, a final, top-secret assignment must be carried out: to transport-by rail-a highly toxic cargo across Bolivia's high desert backcountry and "dispose" of it in a remote indigenous village. With kind engineer Klinger guiding his beloved steam locomotive Federica, and presented with a crew of hapless cops and an unexpected young stowaway, Mariscal finds that there's much more on the line than he imagined in this sharp, energetic satire.

Bolivia's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film to the Academy Awards®, Julia Vargas-Weise's third feature is a lively rejoinder to that country's status as a dumping ground for the world's industrial waste. Rich in symbolism and in spirit, Sealed Cargo is a terrific ride through the seldom-seen Altiplano and a potent reminder of what really matters.

Based on the real events that took place in 1994 when 400 tons of toxic waste were transported through Bolivia, Sealed Cargo delivers a crucial and current message about the global waste crisis that highlights its relevance. -Palm Springs International Film Festival


"Toxic cargo is transported by rail to quietly subversive dramatic and comic effect in Bolivian director Julia Vargas-Weise's fest-feted third feature Sealed Cargo, one of those gently surreal true-life tales that Latin American cinema occasionally brings to life... Viewers will take away the film's bouncy, scattergun criticism of the global waste trade, in a culture in which third-world countries are willing to be paid to be the dumping grounds for first world trash, however toxic it may be." — Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter

"Extraordinary, merging visual poetry with political and personal concerns that address many contemporary issues that matter in the rest of the world including Canada. It is a truly universal film that speaks not only to urgent matters of environmental protection and the rights of indigenous peoples, but to the complexities of the human heart" — Tom McSorley, Executive Director of Canadian Film Institute

"A crew of hapless police and a stowaway make their way across Bolivia in an aged train, searching for a place to dump highly toxic cargo in this sharp, witty satire. 'Boundlessly energetic.'" — The Hollywood Reporter

Main credits

Vargas-Weise, Julia (film director)
Vargas-Weise, Julia (film producer)
Vargas-Weise, Julia (screenwriter)
Sánchez Parra, Gustavo (actor)
Cubero, Gonzalo (actor)
Bredow, Luis (actor)
Lechin, Juan Claudio (screenwriter)
Valverde Štambuk, Pilar (film producer)

Other credits

Cinematography, Milton Guzmán; editors, Miguel Pérez, Daniel Prync; music, Natalia Fajardo, Diego Fletcher.

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Academy Awards® - Bolivia's submission for Best Foreign Language Film
International Film Festival of India - Special Jury Prize
Marbella International Film Festival - Best Director
Ekurhuleni International Film Festival - Best Cinematography
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Havana Film Festival

DIRECTOR: Julia Vargas Weise

NATIONALITY: Bolivia, France, Mexico, Venezuela

YEAR: 2015

GENRE: Drama, Comedy, Fiction

LANGUAGE: Spanish; Indigenous languages

COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



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