Eldorado: The gold rush
by Jean-Pierre Thilges
- Presented at the Luxembourg City Film Festival, the creative documentary by Rui Eduardo Abreu, Thierry Besseling and Loïc Tanson follows four Portuguese immigrants in the Grand Duchy
The population of Luxembourg is made up of 46% foreigners, the majority of whom hail from Portugal. This mass immigration of Portuguese citizens began in the 1960s, at a time when the Grand Duchy had a substantial need for foreign workers, particularly in the construction sector. Nowadays, as the economic crisis continues to wreak havoc in Spain and Portugal, a new wave of Portuguese immigrants is arriving in Luxembourg. But the country, which long ago used to be considered a sort of El Dorado for migrant workers (and rightly so), where jobs were easy to come by, has in the meantime been trying to cope with its own problems related to a high unemployment rate. In other words, the gold in El Dorado has stopped shining.
By following four Portuguese immigrants from that second wave over the course of several years, in Eldorado [+see also:
film profile], Thierry Besseling, Loïc Tanson and Rui Eduardo Abreu (two of whom are Luxembourgish, one Portuguese) have managed to paint a portrait that is in equal parts poetic and realistic, depicting a situation that is far from gleaming, where despair and a profound feeling of "saudade" are omnipresent. In the film, which is being presented in competition at the sixth Luxembourg City Film Festival (25 February-6 March), the directors follow their protagonists around using the fly-on-the-wall principle: they record life itself, as opposed to commentating on it directly.
Besides the strictly documentary part of the movie, the auteurs behind it have also veered off in a creative-documentary direction (in the style of Fire at Sea [+see also:
interview: Gianfranco Rosi
film profile] by Gianfranco Rosi, which recently won the Golden Bear at Berlin) by coming up with a beautifully choreographed sequence performed by cleaning ladies in a vast room of the EU institutions in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Produced by Samsa Film Luxembourg, Eldorado is solid proof that the documentary format is alive and kicking in Luxembourg, as also demonstrated by Pol Cruchten’s Voices from Chernobyl [+see also:
(Translated from French)