August 3, 2020

Ciro Guerra: "It's a tragedy that Pablo Escobar is an idol for so many people" | Culture


In Summer birds there are no idolatrous capos, but victims who at the same time are victimizers. In this tape do not appear Pablos Escobares, neither Chapos Guzmanes. In it, drug traffickers are not heroes. Nor they have mansions, or luxury cars and they do not end up transformed into celebrities either. Here the drug trade is a cruel war in which a family can end up facing.

This film, by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, candidate to be nominated for the Oscars and selected to participate in the Los Cabos International Film Festival -Which takes place from November 7 to 11, narrates how drug trafficking permeated Colombian territory. It delves into the Wayúu community, in its language and its ancestral traditions to portray the beginning of this epidemic that ravages the continent. A narration about the first narcos away from the grandiloquents of Hollywood and the series about capos of the country that have been exported to the world. "The look that until now has taken to the cinema has not been reflexive, but it has consisted in constructing idols and celebrating the violence and the narco culture", tells War, that in the last edition of the Oscar his film The snake's embrace was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

Ciro Guerra, in a file image.
Ciro Guerra, in a file image. efe

Question. Going into the origins of drug trafficking, helps find solutions for the present?

Answer. Drug trafficking has become a taboo for Colombian filmmakers. There was a long time ago that there was a lot of talk about this topic in the cinema, but in fact it has only been tackled in a handful of films. We have really left this issue in the hands of Hollywood movies and of the North American series that have presented, in many cases, a caricatured image of this problem. It seems important to us that we filmmakers assume that story and tell it from our perspective, away from the show and the joke.

P. Why do you think it has become a taboo?

R. Drug trafficking continues to be an open wound for our society, continues to feel a great social shame. In fact, there is a strong lack of knowledge about their origins in Colombia. The look that has taken to the cinema has not been reflexive, but has consisted in building idols and celebrating violence and narco culture.

P. How did it happen with Pablo Escobar?

R. Yes, it is a great tragedy that someone like Pablo Escobar is an idol for many people. This is the case when stories are told from the perspective of the perpetrators and from the unreflective nature of the show.

P. Is your film a way to reconcile Colombian cinema with drug trafficking?

R. We feel that this story had only been treated from a celebratory perspective, from the eyes of criminals and bandits, but it had not been told what it meant for the Colombians. It was a great tragedy that ended up destroying our society and our roots. It is the story of the bloodshed in our country, that of the beginning of our modernity and also that of the arrival of the most savage capitalism, without any kind of containment or regulation.

P. Summer birds It talks about drug trafficking from the feminine point of view, something very unusual.

R. When we started to investigate this story, we found it interesting that it happened in a matriarchal society where women are so strong, they are the ones that perpetuate the family line and have an important participation in trade, culture and politics. We thought it was an opportunity to give a twist to the genre and do something that had not been seen until now.

P. Drug trafficking continues to leave too many dead in Colombia, is there hope that the violence will decrease?

R. For a long time, drug trafficking has ceased to be a Colombian problem and has become global. It is a war declared for completely local reasons of the United States that has spread throughout the planet as an epidemic. Currently, countries that have never had problems with drug trafficking are suffering. Until it is legalized it will continue to be a disease that expands around the world. Colombians have for decades placed the dead, we have suffered the social crisis that this traffic implies.

P. This film is starred by the Wayúu and in The snake's embrace portray the communities of the Amazon, is it an obsession in their films to enter into the indigenous culture?

R. It is not an objective that has marked me, I simply look for the stories that interest me and many are in that hidden universe that has been denied for so long. In the end, what happens in deep Colombia can talk to anyone in the world. No need to copy models [de hacer películas] from other countries.

P. However, the public tends to see more American films than Colombian films.

R. We have to strengthen the presence of our cinema in our countries. It is fundamental that Latin Americans see Latin American cinema both for the growth of our industry and for our spiritual growth.

P. Is the distribution still the main problem?

R. Yes, it is the neuralgic issue. There is still a long way to go. As for production, great progress has been made and nowadays the amount of Latin American films is important, but it is still pending that our cinema will be in better conditions, distributed and given the value it has.

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