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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Carpinteros" or "Woodpeckers")


directed by José María Cabral (as Jose Maria Cabral)
Dominican Republic 2017


Sent to jail for an undetermined amount of time while awaiting a likely three-to-four year conviction for being the getaway driver of a robbery, Julian (Jean Jean) largely avoids being worked over as "fresh meat" with the cash given to him by his brother and arranging with friends on the outside to help smuggle items inside. With the help of dealmaker Bolo, he is able to get a relatively comfortable spot in overcrowded Section C and discovers that the men of the block communicate with their girlfriends in the women's jail across the courtyard with coded sign-language called "pecking" because they hang on to the bars of the block's window while communicating like woodpeckers perched on a branch. When violently jealous Manaury (Ramón Emilio Candelario) starts a riot in the block with a man he thinks is flirting with his "broad" Yanelly (Judith Rodriguez Perez), he is transferred to another adjacent jail and the windows of the block are boarded up to discourage communication, while Julian reluctantly becomes the leader of Section C. He is approached by Manaury, whose smuggling operation works from the jails' joint commissary, to relay messages to Yanelly in exchange for marijuana. Manaury teaches Julian the pecking language and he is able to relay messages to Yanelly and back to Manaury from a spot in the block that offers a vantage point of both of teh other jail yards with translation by Bolo. Yanelly, however, no longer wants to see Manaury who cheated on her while she was in solitary confinement and is more interested in Julian who keeps insisting that he is "just the messenger." When Julian is taken into the women's jail to fix the head guard's air conditioner, he and Yanelly are able to speak. An attraction grows between the two of them that is threatened not only by the watchful guards and the jealous Manaury - who automatically assumes that there must be someone else if Yanelly no longer wants anything to do with him - and the possiblity of an early release for Yanelly who burned down the house of the man who used and abused her. When Manaury confirms his suspicions, he sets Julian up but they both wind up being transferred to an even more crowded jail where neither one has any power. While Julian quickly starts building up new alliances and attempts to contact Yanelly on the outside, Manaury plots his revenge. A rather compelling film for the three-quarters - despite the long setup and the squashing of major plot developments into an intercutting montage of only a few minutes after the hour mark - with the pecking language communications breaking upt he usual prison film clichés, WOODPECKERS stumbles far over into melodrama in the last act and ends up disappointing both as an "foreign language equals art film" experience and as an exploitation film despite good performances and gritty-yet-slick lensing.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: May 2017 (Dominican Republic)

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DVD Review: Outsider Pictures/Strand Releasing - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Outsider Pictures/Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:46:44

2.73:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.37 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Outsider Pictures/Strand Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.73:1

Edition Details:
� Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:28)
� Previews

DVD Release Date: 9 January 2018

Chapters 8



Strand's high-bitrate, progressive, anamorphic encode is crisp-looking and colorful with the extremely wide image subject to the bowing and lens flare for stylistic effect. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track utilizes the surrounds mainly for crowd noise and some atmosphere with some rare musical passages. The optional English subtitles have one or two spelling gaffes like "Be quite!" but also translate the "pecking" language. The only extras are the film's trailer and trailers for other Strand titles.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Outsider Pictures/Strand Releasing

Region 1 - NTSC



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