Juan Manuel Gamazo‘s Mejunje from Cuba and Irene Lema‘s Colombian film El Charco Azul (The Blue Pond) are two documentaries yet to be profiled until now. Mejunje and Azul, along with Gabriel Mascaro‘s Brazilian film Housemaids, will be part of the Latin American competition at the Festival Internacional Documentales Chile Santiago (Chile Santiago International Documentary Film Festival), which runs June 24-29.
Mejunje, which means “a mix of various ingredients to form a substance,” follows three islanders with ties to the Cuban town of Santa Clara.
“Mejunje: a mix of various ingredients to form a substance.” With
this text, Spanish ﬁlmmaker –educated in Cuba– Juan Manuel Gamazo starts
his movie, ﬁlmed entirely in the Cuban town of Santa Clara, using as a
centerpiece a cultural center, whose name is the title of the picture,
and that presents us with three islanders with ties to the place.
Through the small moments of any given day, we witness the intertwined
lives of these people, and Gamazo establishes a vision that is far from
the idealism or condemnation into which ﬁlms that try to portray Cuba
habitually fall. This concoction of lives in an arrested time, who share
the need to communicate mainly through music, is reﬂected with
precision and respect by the director, in a style of observation that
allows him to avoid the logic of an overﬂight, and instead to delve
vividly into the experiences of those portrayed, whom, thanks to the
ﬁlm, will ﬁnd a new way of expression. R.C.
Watch the minimalist trailer below:
Directed by Irene Lema, The Blue Pond was shot in the surroundings of Buenaventura, a town in Colombia’s Pacific. The documentary is described as a road movie, which reveals the beliefs of this Afro-Colombian niche culture: boogieman stories, legends and habits of an isolated society narrated through short stories, which can be seen via internet as the protagonists carry on with their lives.
Aside from traditional audiovisual elements of the webdoc, Pond uses text, photos and music to narrate a story with a different structure. The six stations upon which the doc is developed, take off from Irene’s realized journey to the town of Buenaventura. Irene observes the reality and fantasy through the oral traditions of a local family.
That was a Spanish-to-English translation. Here’s the English synopsis below:
The train, the railway, is by excellence one of the cinematographic
icons. Symbol of progress present since the beginnings of ﬁlm history
and that in our land will ﬁnd a greater signiﬁcance: to be the link that
instills those dichotomies unique to the Latin American condition,
tradition vs. modernity, linking the country to the city, bringing as
result the gradual abandonment of the provincial in search of the
urban.But what happens with those that stay behind? Who are those that
take the journey backwards and arrive to a hidden town? And what happens
when the train no longer passes by? Director Irene Lema built an opera
prima based on the life of a community that exists amidst abandoned
railways; these will be their testimonials revealing a world where
another typical feature of Latin America becomes uniﬁed, the popular and
the sacred. R.C.
Watch the making-of clip below; It’s in Spanish but contains several clips with English subtitles:
Lastly, you may be recall the Brazilian documentary Domestica (Housemaids) by Gabriel Mascaro, which we profiled back in October of last year.
To recap, Domestica is more of an observational documentary, capturing the diversity of employee
attitudes towards their maids, the relationship between each maid and
the house they are hired to work in, how each reacts to the fact that
there’s a camera following them around, and more.
Watch the teaser for Housemaids below: