28 November, 2008

European movie in Bolivia

The European cinema travels a lot around the world, but, regarding South America, one could say its presence is permanent in film festivals and special movie library programs. Sometimes not enough talked about, but certainly most of the time gathering an important public.

For those who are in Bolivia during these days – Bolivian or not –, the tip to follow is the 9th edition of the European Film Festival, which started on the 13th of November in La Paz and will be ended on the 7th of December in Sucre. In the total, four cities (La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and Sucre) were selected to host 22 movies from 9 European countries.

The theme this year is cultural diversity, and the titles selected follow the idea of Europe as a “single flight of many bees”, in the words of the Spanish writer Ortega y Gasset about the old continent. Comedies, social and psychological dramas, thrillers, adventures and animations from Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Holand, Italy and Switzerland will thus be available for Bolivians.

The European Film Festival is organized by the European Union, with collaboration of all embassies involved. For those interested, more information can be found here.

04 November, 2008

How does an European see Latin America?

Well, usually just like “Dr. Alemán”, a German movie shot in Colombia tries to picture: a place drowned in violence, but full of nice gentle people in difficulties. And that’s exactly what its creator, the German filmmaker Tom Schreiber, wanted to achieve, as he said in an interview for (in Spanish): “I never wanted to say ‘this is Colombia’. My idea was to show how a European sees a Latin country, in this case Colombia”. In this case, well done.

“Dr. Alemán” tells the story of a young and inexperienced Medicine student in Frankfurt who lives a boring live and therefore wants to give his existence a higher meaning. As a result, he goes to Cali and chooses a hospital in Siloé – one of the most poor and dangerous neighborhoods in the Colombian city – and gets there helped by an exchange program to get to know how life is beyond his walls and save lives.

So, this main character called Marc (played by the German actor August Diehl) finds what he had been looking for, but a little worse than first imagined. There is not one day in this fiction’s life in which a person doesn’t show up at the hospital covered in blood and almost dying. Guns and drugs are everywhere, just like good people are too. For example, Marc falls in love with Wanda, a local girl who takes care of her brothers (because their parents have been murdered) and is able to believe that “people didn’t forget what is to be a human being”. Influenced by love and his good character (maybe also a little bit of faith), Dr. German tries very hard to keep believing that violence has not won the war and actually is successful in not losing his hope, once he develops deep relationships with valuable people.

Schreiber, the director, was born in Cologne and had the idea for this project after receiving a letter from a friend who was working in Cali. According to him, this, which is his second movie, has caused commotion in some international festivals because “many people have identified their own reactions getting to Latin America”.

The reaction in Colombia, where the movie has not been released yet, is thus not known. But in Germany, where it was launched on the 14th of August, certainly the reaction could be resumed in one self-expression (although not mentioned by the director, like he said): “I’d better stay away from Colombia”.

See it by your own eyes in the trailer: