My first full day in Bogota was exceptionally rich in events, more than I expected. Having done all the logistics and organisational work, I happily stuffed myself with cheese arepas, and sunk them in litres of aromatic coffee, I visited some stalls in feria de Los Indigenas where I almost bought myself strange looking ‘love potion’ from feathers adorned Taita de Putumayo (from the same Kofanes I want to work with!!!! Which again proves impossible, as all my contacts firmly discourage me from going there now, where supposingly peace talks are about to begin…) Taita presented me a small bottle full of small seeds, leaves and other strange looking ingredients, and seeing my growing reluctance – he took a brush and vigorously started sweeping the floor, forgetting his traditional outfit and feathers. I imagined him doing the same in his own house – his wife, if he has one, must be quite happy with him. He must have drunk a lot of this ‘love potion’, perhaps I should have bought it, after all?
Then came the main point of the day: visit to Cinemateca Districal, to see a marathon of Colombian films, presented as part of the ‘Week of Colombian cinema’. Excellent!!!! I was dying to see the variety of presented titles, considering that even my Colombian friends, asked about their national cinema, do not seem to know much more than ‘Rosario Tijeras’ o ‘Maria eres llena de gracia’, at best. All the Colombians I know seem to know more about Cantinflas than about their national cinema. For some reason most of the books dedicated to Latin American cinema seem to quietly ignore Colombia in their content. And here I come to the Cinemateca, on Tuesday early afternoon, expecting to be the only crazy person to watch some festival movies, and I was welcomed by some nice surpices. First of all -the entry to the festival was completely free!! In a place, where one can easily find other priorities than art, one can see an ambitious cinema in the heart of the city for free!! Second of all – not only I wasn’t the only person in the auditorium – it was actually full!! (later it made me wonder how it could possibly be related to the fact that it was free, but I honestly doubt it, because on the next show there were already people sitting on the floor!!). And third: the films I have seen were actually really good! First one, ‘Postales Colombianas’ by Ricardo Coral Dorado, was probably my favourite one so far. I do not want to bore you with the review right now, but if you want to gain some understanding about the country and the life in Bogota – this title might be an interesting choice. It starts as a very light funny film, until you realise what hides behind the story. And the fact that is all develops, like a taste of good wine, make me appreciate this film a lot. I might be writing about this film again at some point in the future. The other one was ‘El escritor de telenovelas’ by Felipe Dothee, and this is something which again I wouldn’t expect to see in Europe. Quite silly story about screenwriter of telenovelas, who one day wakes up in the reality of one of his novelas, and makes massive efforts to escape back to the real world. Again without going into details, this film could not have been done in Poland or Slovakia. Forget the silly story – it still brings some interesting observations of the society, witch characters representing a various fan of personages. Also – worth noticing – there is no violence, or drug related subjects, well, apart from one or two attempts of murder, but all softened by telenovela style. Maybe not the most ambitious title, but still interesting to see. Finally – ‘Todos tus muertos’ by Carlos Moreno – a striking image which tells a story of absurds related to quiet massacre somewhere in provincial Colombia. The most memorable scene is the final one, where all the actors who played the dead (sklillfuly piled one onto another) stand up, and in theatrical style bow towards us, the viewers.
Just after watching this film, still in a darkish mood, I jumped on a cab and started taking random pictures through the window. I took a photo of an ambulance just outside of my window and suddenly I realised there was a dead man on a pavement, with flood of blood around his head and growing group of people around. Taxi driver said it looked like the guy was shot, and quickly changed the topic asking about the direction once again. I got frozen. Considering I have never seen a dead person in all 32 years of my life, I was quite shocked. How ironic, I thought, that the dead people from the film stood up, but the dead man from reality won’t. What should be fiction was a reality here.