“Nuestra Pelicula” starts off innocently with elementary students singing the Colombian national anthem replete with words such as “glory”, “goodness”, “liberty’ and “jubilance”. This opened and closed the broadcasting day on Colombia’s national television network. This innocence quickly fades with archival 1988 Colombian television footage showing a litany of assassinations, murders, kidnappings, funerals, distraught families. Politicians, workers, peasants, students et al gunned down individually or in methodical execution style. Sometimes the sicarios (assassins)are children as young as 15.
The narration of the documentary is sparse and at times poetic as the camera does the talking as chosen by the director of the film Diana Bustamante as the mountains of footage had to be edited to convey the message Bustamante desired. It is a trail of blood and violence. Some of the film is devoted to blood flowing like rivers, fresh blood, dried blood, blood on car seats and on many shoes and personal items streaked with blood. There are plenty of caskets. There is even live footage of the assassination of a politician. There seems no limit to violence, death and blood in 1988 Colombia where it is estimated over 18,000 people were killed.
The film has neutral and extremely limited narration. It is up to the viewer to be immersed in the violence and the film leaves absolutely no doubt about the extent of it in 1988 Colombia. Even the Pac Manish conclusion is constructed to convey the message.
Now it may be either a strength or weakness we are not told who is behind this violence. Is it the narco cartels fighting amongst each other? Is it the leftist guerillas? Is it the military or parts of the government itself? That may not be the point. The point is to present a bloody trail and pierce the heart of the viewer.
And these sweet children singing the national anthem? The children of Colombia witnessed the violence and many were affected directly by it. Perhaps the most disturbing footage is a multiple murder in a Colombian town with children jumping over rivulets of fresh blood. And then there is a cleaning lady at an airport cleaning up the blood of an assassinated politician with newspaper that stubbornly sticks to the blood on the floor.
You may see the trailer here https://vimeo.com/759234448
“Nuestra Pelicula” has its international premiere at DOC NYC taking place November 9-27. The film is geoblocked so only those in the United States can watch online but rest assured the film will be making its way around the globe. Its European premiere will be in Bilbao. You can check the film’s website for showing details http://dublinfilms.fr/en/portfolio/nuestra-pelicula/