Movies featuring the Native Peoples of
COLOMBIA


= Lame, Crummy.     = OK, Watchable.     = Good.     = Very Good.     = Great, Classic.


FEATURE-LENGTH FILMS / LARGOMETRAJES
Cada voz lleva su angustia

CADA VOZ LLEVA SU ANGUSTIA
(Every Voice Bears your Anguish)
Director:Julio Bracho
Writer:Julio Bracho, Alejandro Cotto
Cinematography:Alex Phillips Jr.
Music:Raúl Lavista
Year/length:1965. 95 minutes. B&W.
Setting:Soacha (town in Andes)
Language: Spanish
Home Release:no DVD
This film was made in Mexico, but is based on a novel by Colombian writer Jaime Ibáñez. In the Andean village of Soacha, Cob is in love with his cousin Maria. One day he gets drunk and hits her. Maria seeks refuge at the hut of old Ferro, whose wife has left him. Cob leaves the village and Ferro continues to shelter Maria. One day his son Nicolas spies her bathing and rapes her. The lame Isidro tries to stop him, and in revenge Nicolas burns Isidro's hut with him inside. Horrified by his own act, Nicolas throws himself over a cliff. This leaves Ferro and Maria to love each other freely. [I have not seen this film.]

Sinopsis en español:
En Soacha, pueblo de los Andes colombianos, es descubierto el cuerpo carbonizado del cojo Isidro dentro de su choza incendiada y, en el fondo de un despeñadero cercano, el del joven Nicolás. Se sospecha del padre de Nicolás, Ferro, por su mal carácter y por la pasión que le inspira la joven María, y solo el médico del lugar lo defiende. Flashback: Los campesinos quieren abandonar sus áridas tierras para ir en busca de las buenas que reparte el gobierno. Uno de ellos, Pablo, está dispuesto a partir, y otro, Cob, se aferra a su tierra natal. Cob ama a su prima María pero no se atreve a decírselo. Ferro, abandonado por su esposa, con su hijo Nicolás, de cuya paternidad duda, desiste de enamorar a María cuando comprueba que ella ama a Cob. Éste y María se unen pero él se emborracha por el sentimiento de culpa. Ebrio, Cob golpea a María y ella huye de la choza donde vive con él y se refugia con Ferro. Creyendose traicionado por María, Cob deja el lugar. María se queda en casa de Ferro quien la respeta y protege. Un día que María se baña, Nicolás que continuamente la espía, la viola, sin que el cojo Isidro pueda impedirlo, pero alcanza a dar a Nicolás un golpe con su muleta. En venganza, Nicolás quema la choza del cojo con él adentro. Horrorizado ante lo que ha hecho, Nicolás se despeña sin querer. Fin del flashback. María corresponde al amor de Ferro.



CONQUISTADORES DEL PACIFICO
Director:José María Elorrieta
Writer:José María Elorrieta, Federico de Urrutia, Manuel Sebares
Cinematography:Alfonso Nieva
Music:Federico Contreras
Year/length:1963. 86 minutes.
Setting:Colombia, Panama, 1509-1513
Language:Spanish
Indian Content:medium
Home Release:VHS
Rating: lousy

An incompetent attempt to glorify the exploits of Spanish conquistador vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475-1519). A prologue claims that Balboa was more interested in discovery than in riches, and the film continues this fulsome whitewashing by presenting Balboa as a pious, loyal Spaniard who sometimes protects the Indians from greedier explorers. In 1509 Balboa and his dog Leoncico stow away on a ship in Hispaniola headed for Cartagena. He is at loggerheads with the leader, Rodrigo de Bastidas. On the way they rescue Francisco Pizarro and his men adrift in a lifeboat. Upon reaching the mainland they found the city of Santa María la Antigua del Darién (in what is today Colombia, near the Panama border) and Balboa is declared alcalde. He then travels west to Cueva and befriends the cacique Careta and falls in love with his daughter Anayensi. Continuing west, Balboa and his new allies befriend the cacique Comogre, from whom he learns of a land to the south flowing with gold, and, more importantly to our Hollywood hero, a vast sea to the west just waiting to be discovered by a European. The tale ends anticlimactically with Balboa's view of the Pacific and the viewer is left wondering what is so great about this "discovery." The film presents Balboa's curiosity for the sea as a noble quest that led him to forfeit his discovery of El Dorado, and it glosses over the incessant treachery that infested the relationships among the various conquistadors.

Conquistadores del Pacifico was a Spanish production with mostly Spanish actors, except for Frank Latimore as Balboa. It was released in a dubbed English version under the title Balboa. Despite the Spanish aegis and on-location shooting in Panama, it seems more like a U.S. production, and the Indians all look like leftovers from a John Wayne movie with their headbands and long faces. The battle scenes are well done; all else is dreadful.



EL ORIGEN DEL PUEBLO TIKUNA
(Mangutangu Aru Ngoechiga)
Director/writer:Gustavo de la Hoz
Music:German Arrieta
Year:2009.
Setting:Colombian rainforest at the dawn of creation
Language:Spanish
Indian content:high
Home Release:no DVD yet

Thousands of years ago, in the Amazon jungle, the god Gutapa observed that his people lived like animals and did not follow his rules. So he created Yoí and Ipi, who in turn created the people of Maguta. Yoi and his wife Umariana fished their people out of the river Evare. Yoi taught them how to survive in the jungle, and how to respect and protect it. He taught them to work in the community and instituted rituals. This film tells the Tikuna myth of creation and shows the culture of the people who today number about 32,000 in the areas of Río Santo Antonio do Ica and Río Solimones.
Trailer: youtube.com/watch?v=zYQb4f-CaGU

Sinopsis en español:
Narra el mito de la creación según los pueblos indígenas del Trapecio Amazónico. Es considerado un rescate de un mito y una lengua, y el pronunciamiento de este pueblo indígena colombiano para enseñar y dar a conocer la profundidad de su cultura ancestral.



LA SIRGA
(The Towrope)
Director/writer:William Vega
Cinematography:Sofia Oggioni Hatty
Music:Fidencio Tulcán y su Clavel Rojo
Year/length:2012. 86 minutes
Setting:La Cocha, a marshland village in Nariño in the Andes
Language:Spanish
Indian Content:low
Home Release:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good excellent

When her village is burned and destroyed, 19-year-old Alicia (played by Joghis Seudin Arias) flees to La Cocha, a marshland village surrounding a lake in the Andes, where her uncle Oscar (Julio César Roble) runs an inn. The Inn, La Sirga ("towrope"), is falling apart, and when Oscar reluctantly allows her to stay, Alicia helps the housekeeper Flora (Floralba Achicanoy) fix it up for the coming tourist season. Alicia befriends the boatman Mirichis (David Fernando Guacas), who seems to survive on scant delivery jobs in the desolate region. Alicia is worried that the violence that devastated her hometown will come to La Cocha too, but no one calms her fears. The few townspeople we meet are laconic, as is the film itself. Much of the film's appeal is in the bleakly beautiful scenery of fog and marshland, and the ramshackle inn that Alicia and Flora slowly bring to life for tourists who never appear.

To fully appreciate the film, it helps to understand that Colombia has the highest displaced population in the world, with millions of people forced out of their towns and villages by the war between the government, the guerrilla group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the drug cartels, and various groups that have splintered off from FARC. All of this is suggested by the abrupt appearance of Oscar's son Fredy (Heraldo Romero), who shows up one day and tries to persuade his father and Alicia to leave the village. He scoffs at his father's communal labor project, and seems to bear hostility toward Mirichis. That's all I can say about the plot.

As for the indigenous content, Alicia, Flora, and Mirichis look sort of indigenous, though the only way we know for sure is from the director's comments in the "Making Of" feature on the DVD. In fact, more indigenous actors appear in the "Making Of" than in the film itself. The filmmakers also refer to myths that inspired the story, and even explain that the lake is sacred and that a shaman had to bless the lake before they could film there, though it certainly does not seem to sacred to anyone in the movie. All of this leaves one wondering how much was left out of the final product.

Website: peliculalasirga.com (in Spanish)
Facebook page: facebook.com/PeliculaLasirga
Film Movement page: filmmovement.com/filmcatalog/index.asp?MerchandiseID=307

Sinopsis en español:
Alicia está desamparada. El recuerdo de la guerra llega a su mente como amenazantes truenos. Desterrada por el conflicto armado intenta rehacer su existencia en La Sirga, un hostal decadente a orillas de una gran laguna en lo alto de Los Andes que pertenece a Óscar, el único familiar que conserva con vida, un viejo huraño y solitario. Ahí en una playa fangosa e inestable buscará echar raíces hasta que sus miedos y la amenaza de la guerra reaparezcan de nuevo.


LOS VIAJES DEL VIENTO
(Wind Journeys)
Director/writer:Ciro Guerra
Cinematography:Paulo Andrés Pérez
Music:Iván Ocampo, Marciano Martínez
Year/length:2009. 117 minutes.
Setting:various towns & villages along Northern coast, 1968
Language:Spanish, some Kogi
Indian Content:low
Home Release:DVD
Rating: lousy ok good very good excellent

Ignacio Carrillo is a legendary accordion player who decides to give up playing after the death of his wife and return his instrument to his teacher, Maestro Guerra, whom he has not seen in years. As he sets out for the remote Guajira region of northern Colombia, a teenage boy, Fermin, impulsively decides to follow him, asking Ignacio to teach him. The grim, taciturn Ignacio refuses, but Fermin continues to follow him, and they trek through various small towns and countrysides. As their journey takes them to farther and farther regions, through mountains, deserts, prairies and beaches (all beautifully captured in widescreen aspect ratio 2.35:1), we learn that the young man and old are on similar yet opposite quests. Fermin reveals that his father was a musician who used to play with Ignacio. He has left his mother and girlfriend in a wild attempt to reconnect with his father by following this grumpy old man who just wants to be left alone, and is seeking his teacher in order to bring his musical career, and his life obligations to a close. Towards the end of the movie they reach the Sierra Nevada, where Ignacio collapses from exhastion. They are rescued by the Kogi, a mountain-dwelling people who have always maintained independence from whites. These mysterious people restore the ailing Ignacio to health. Ultimately the pair reach their destination, the Guajira peninsula, where they encounter Wayuu Indians. The scenes with indigenous peoples are brief but fascinating, adding more wonder to this mesmerising, masterful film. Director Ciro Guerra says he made Los viajes del viento in part to introduce audiences to another side of Colombia besides the drug and gang scene so often shown in movies. He has succeeded brilliantly, and his achievement is one of the finest Colombian films ever made.

CAST:
Ignacio: Marciano Martínez (a professional accordion player in real life)
Fermin: Yull Núñez
Guajira woman: Erminia Martínez

Sinopsis en español:
Ignacio Carrillo, un juglar que durante años recorrió pueblos y regiones llevando cantos con su acordeón, toma la decisión de hacer un último viaje, a través de toda la región norte de Colombia, para devolverle el instrumento a su anciano maestro, y así nunca más volver a tocar. En el camino, encuentra a Fermín, un joven cuya ilusión en la vida es seguir sus pasos y ser como él. Cansado de la soledad, Ignacio acepta ser acompañado, y juntos emprenden el recorrido desde Majagual, Sucre, hasta Taroa, más allá del Desierto de la Guajira, encontrándose con la enorme diversidad de la cultura caribe y viviendo todo tipo de aventuras y encuentros.


SHORT FILMS / CORTOMETRAJES
Alijuna

ALIJUNA
(Foreigner)
Director/writer:Cristina Escoda
Cinematography:Camila Jiménez Villa
Music:Renou, Kiritchenko, Cobra Killer
Year/length:2010. 18 minutes.
Setting:La Guajira
Language:Spanish; a few lines of Wayuu

A senator travels to the remote region of La Guajira to pick up a newborn baby that she has paid for in advance. When she arrives, she learns that the Wayuu girl she paid had twins, and that the girl wants to keep one of the babies. The senator insists on taking both babies. This well-made short film has won several awards at the various festivals where it was screened.

Sinopsis en español:
La doctora está nerviosa. Ha estado esperando este momento durante mucho tiempo y siente la tensión. Su chofer, Nelson, un wayuú que lleva trabajando para ella varios años, es su contacto. Él la guiará hasta el pueblo de la Guajira donde una joven wayúu ha accedido a venderle el bebé que lleva dentro. Al llegar a la ranchería, la joven wayúu ya ha dado a luz a un bebé hermoso. Pero Nelson presiente que las mujeres de la ranchería esconden algo.



EÇKWE QUIERE DECIR COLIBRÍ
(Eskwe Means Hummingbird)
Director:Mónica María Mondragón Triana
Cinematography:Juan David Velásquez
Music:Olga Walkiria
Year/length:2010. 17 minutes.
Setting:Columbia
Language:Spanish
Indian Content:medium

A little girl named E'çkwe lives in a house of prostitution where her mother works. None of the other women know the mother's name and they simply refer to her as "La India". Slowly the little girl becomes aware of the nature of her mother's work.

Sinopsis en español:
Narra la historia de una niña indígena llamada Eçskwe, y La India, su madre, quienes llegan a vivir a Hawai Show 2000, un burdel de carácter popular. La niña se confronta progresivamente con el universo social del burdel y sus habitantes cotidianos: los niños que al igual que Eçkwe viven allí, las mujeres que trabajan en el lugar, los clientes, los curiosos.



GONAWINDÚA
Directors:Giuliano Cavalli, Jorge Mario Suárez
Writer:Jorge Mario Suárez
Cinematography:Giuliano Cavalli
Year/length:2011. 13 minutes.
Setting:Sierra Nevada, Santa Marta, the future
Language:Kogi
Indian Content:high
Home Release:Vimeo

Gonawindúa is the most important peak of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. For the Kogi, is the center of the planet, the Origin of all things. The mission of the Kogi as Elder Brothers is to Protect it from the ignorance of the Younger Brothers, the non-Kogi, Whose irresponsibility with mother nature has provoked the rage of Sezhankwa, the Creator. Kankuemaku, an old Mamo (Shaman), entrusts his young apprentice Cenkui to make a payment in one of Their sacred territories. In the future, a couple years beyond 2088, the consequences of our acts will be seen. The complete film is available on Vimeo:
vimeo.com/channels/murillofilms/65193032
(subtitles in English, Spanish, German and French)

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Gonawindua

Sinopsis en español:
Luego de una adivinación, Kankuémaku, un viejo Mama Koggi encomienda a Cenkui, su joven aprendiz a realizar un pagamento (trabajo espiritual) para cancelar las deudas con la naturaleza en la línea negra. Su camino es la manifestación del recorrido del agua desde la pureza de los cerros hasta el mar, recorrido que ha sido manipulado por el hombre blanco que paulatinamente ha ido poblando de manera irresponsable la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta considerada por lo Koggis el corazón del universo.

NOT YET REVIEWED:

ABUELO VOLCÁN (ÑANZ)
Carlos Gómez y Geodiel Chindicué. 2013, 43 min.

Docu-ficcion. El relato ocurre en Tierradentro, territorio nasa, cuando el volcán nevado del Huila ha despertado tras un largo descanso. A través de un sueño, el abuelo Volcán envía un mensaje, pero la gente necesita la ayuda de un thë' walla para interpretarlo. Abandonado por el Estado, el pueblo lucha por una vida digna y un niño recibe enseñanzas de los mayores de su comunidad. Esta historia combina elementos documentales y de ficción para cuestionar las creencias sobre la realidad y los sueños, y sobre la dinámica detrás de los sucesos naturales.

ACERCA DE LOS SUEÑOS (OTJENAYAMA)
Vandreé Julián Palacios Bucheli, 2013, 6 min.

El caminante es un ser que vive en constante búsqueda de aquel lugar en el que ya ha estado. Una llave abre todas las cerraduras hacia el estado onírico en el que se encuentra hechizado. Cuento Kamëntsá.

CHAMBÚ, ROCA DE CRISTAL
Alejandro Kerk, 1962.

Based on the 1946 novel by Guillermo Edmundo Chaves on life in the mining town of Nariño in the 30s and 40s. Both the film and the German-born director disappeared.
Retrato de la vida de los trabajadores de unas canteras de piedras, situadas en el suroccidente del país. Basado en la novela homónima de Guillermo Edmundo Chaves.

HISTORIA MISAK, AYER Y HOY EN PIE (MANASRONKURRY MANASRONKATIK MISAK MISAK PONTRER)
Duván Anderson Calambás and Esteban Garavito Poveda. Docu-ficción. 80 min. 2013.

Este es el viaje que un joven misak emprende de la mano de una mayora líder del pueblo guambiano, Jacinta Muelas Hurtado. Durante un recorrido por el paisaje caucano y su historia, Duván conoce más acerca del valor cultural de su pueblo, de sus orígenes y sus luchas: ayer, frente a la invasión europea por las riquezas minerales, las tierras y la libertad; hoy, frente a las multinacionales y las políticas agrarias, en defensa de la soberanía alimentaria, para enfrentar la crisis que se avecina.

LAS HORMIGAS
Grupo de realizadores del Pirá Paraná. 25 min.

Representa un mito, contado para niños, sobre la cacería de hormigas en la noche. Es también el encuentro entre el diablo y el hombre. Los realizadores son de pueblos Macuna, Tatuyo, y Barasano.

LEYENDA DE VICTORIANITO
Guillermo Prieto, 1991, 27 min.

The Chami Indians enact a tale of a mestizo man's efforts to recover his Indian heritage.

MAJAYUT
Elizabeth Pirela y Luis Misael Socarrás Ipuana. 2008, 27 min.

Elieser, un niño pastor de ovejas, se conoce con Andreina en el pozo donde sacan diariamente agua para el consumo humano y de los animales. Ya con tanto tiempo de conocerse, un día el niño le dice a su padre que él está enamorado de Andreina y que quiere que cuando ella sea señorita la pida en matrimonio para él.

NARCISA
Cristian Arcos and Cineminga Collective, 2011, 14 min.

La vida de Narcisa cambia cuando fuerzas militares oscuras irrumpen en la tranquilidad de su aldea y matan a su abuelita. Narcisa y los habitantes del pueblo Pastos emprenden camino sin rumbo fijo. Pero el espíritu de la abuelita se le aparece a Narcisa para guiarla al lugar donde deben construir un nuevo pueblo. El canto del gallo que lleva consigo dará la señal.[A grandmother's bird song is a message of peace for a new village settlement.]

RAÍZ DE CONICIMIENTO: QUINTÍN LAME (JIISA WEÇE)
Cineminga Collective, 2010, 38 min.

Esta docu-ficción recontruye la historia de Manuel Quintín Lame (1880-1967), uno de los grandes líderes del pueblo Nasa, quien defendió incansablemente los derechos de las comunidades indígenas y atravesó múltiples dificultades por la defensa de los pueblos. Es en el contacto profundo con la naturaleza en donde se halla la raíz de su conocimiento y es en la memoria de la comunidad que se mantiene vivo su pensamiento. Manuel Quintín es nuestra historia viva y presente. Esta realización fue el resultado de talleres de Cineminga en Tierradentro. El video combina técnicas documentales y puestas en escena para transmitir la comprensión no lineal que tiene el pueblo nasa de la historia. El thë' walla (médico tradicional) Pío Quinto Oteca, personifica a Lame en la pantalla.
Available on Youtube:
youtube.com/watch?v=41cboehD1M4
With English subtitles:
youtube.com/watch?v=_va2Tp0RgnY

THE THREE SEVENS
Jorge Lozano & Alejandro Ronceria, 1993, 21 min.

The story of a young native man from Colombia living in exile in Canada.
Historia impresionista sobre las experiencias de un jóven indígena de Colombia viviendo en exilio en Canadá.



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