Thursday, November 29, 2007


I watched another movie about Bolivia today, the third in a triad of depressing films about the country (The Devil’s Miner, Our Brand is Crisis and Bolivia). This is an Argentine film about an illegal Bolivian immigrant who comes to Buenos Aires in 2001, at the height of the Argentinean economic crisis. He has left his family and three daughters in La Paz, unable to work there after the “Yankees” burned the fields where he used to work on a combine. The fields grew coca, among other crops.

He’s a hard-working and polite man, doing his best for his family. But the majority of the clients in the lower-middle income restaurant he works at are also unemployed or facing serious financial difficulties as a result of the crisis. Not very accepting of other races to begin with, tensions mount when foreigners are given work and locals remain unemployed.
It’s a stark, simple movie, filmed in black and white, never for more than 3 days at a time due to budget constraints. But it’s effective, not only in portraying the situation in Argentina and the case of the common Bolivian migrant, but of highlighting the tensions of immigration in many countries, of the dichotomy between what is better for the individual and what is better for the national society.

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