Felipe Monroy finishing his third feature film about Colombia, Hijos del viento
- Produced, like its predecessor Los fantasmas del Caribe, by Switzerland’s Adok Films, Hijos del viento is about to undergo the final editing phase, scheduled for the end of August
Hijos del viento concludes a powerful trilogy dedicated to the homeland of the Colombian director living in Geneva and one-time student of HEAD Felipe Monroy; a three-parter which began in 2014 with Tacacho (scooping the Fleurs-Mérogis Prison Award in 2014) and continued with Los fantasmas del Caribe [+see also:
film profile] (Visions du Réel Official Selection 2018). Once again, José Michel Buhler of Adok Films, together with French firm Les films d’ici and Colombian outfit Totiante DC, are lending their support to the director as producers of this audacious and necessary film.
Now in the final phase of editing before entering into the post-production stage scheduled for the month of November, Los fantasmas del Caribe was one of five projects selected by Swiss Films for presentation within the Swiss Previews line-up of the 2020 Visions du Réel Festival. The result of in-depth research and spine-tingling sensitivity, the film is currently in search of a distributor as well as a festival happy to host its first bow.
The armed conflict in Colombia and its terrible consequences have been central to Felipe Monroy’s filmography since his very first feature Tacacho, which lent a voice to victims of violence imprisoned in a whirlwind of precariousness and fear. For its part, Hijos del viento homes in on a well-known situation in Colombia which is nonetheless difficult and dangerous to talk about: that of the “False positives”, innocent civilians who were abducted and killed by President Alvaro Urribe’s armed forces, passed off as dangerous “guerrilleros”. The aim of all this? To encourage faith in the growing efficacity of the army and paramilitaries in combatting illegal trafficking on the part of the guerrillas. Indeed, President Urribe introduced an advancement scheme for graduates and a payment scheme for soldiers, recognising them for every enemy guerrilla killed. The ramifications of such a “reward”, denounced by the mothers (Las Madres de Soacha) of those who disappeared - “whisked away by the wind” (to quote the title of the movie) - are terribly real and meticulously reported in the film.
It is impossible to forgive and erase from memory the Colombian armed conflict with its many atrocious results. Felipe Monroy has always stood in opposition to such attempts to vanish any evidence of this inadmissible violence, insisting instead upon the vital need for people to remember in order to rebuild lives, to find a flicker of equilibrium in a place where this word no longer holds meaning.
Ultimately, the urgent need to tell the story of those who survived (Doris, Maria, Betriz, Mauren and Carlos) through the medium of film is what fuelled the director and lent him the strength to leave a trace of the horror spawned by his own land.
As well as shouldering the risks involved in expressing themselves publicly, the protagonists (including the director) refuse the victim role which society forces them to play, preferring to finally take their own destiny in hand. And thus, through the testimonies of these key characters, who are exclusively and resolutely on the side of the oppressed, Hijos del viento becomes a veritable act of resistance.
(Translated from Italian)
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