Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Chircales documentary

This is a pretty stark documentary about the brickmaking business in 1960s Colombia.  It goes into themes of land, power, politics, and economics.   A lot has changed since this film was made, but for me it still captures certain timeless aspects of Colombian society--enough wealth and sophistication to go around for everyone, but a suffocating inequality and oppression of some people at the hands of others.  The opening images of central Bogota show what was even then a cosmopolitan, prosperous, modern, beautiful city, and it clashes with the brutal, malicious deprivation and poverty of the brickworks.  And yet the peasants and laborers are such articulate, critical thinkers, with a nascent idea of the rights and services that society should rightfully offer them.  These poor people would be leaders and philosophers in any other context that gave them just a little bit of opportunity.  This consciousness is almost more cruel, since they are so fully aware of the injustice of the situation, but also of their total inability to escape it.  This acute awareness of inescapable injustice fueled the fires of the violent insurgency that has marked the past 50-plus years in the country.

None of this is too far off from today's Colombia, even though now more people have nice electronics, and machines have replaced a lot of the brute human labor.  Let's hope that the peace accords manage to right some of the prevalent injustice and malice in the country, so everyone can have a better tomorrow.

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