Saturday, February 21, 2009

Plaza San Victorino

On Monday, I went to the Patrimonio Fílmico, a film archive where I would spend the next days watching films produced in the 30s and 40s in Bogotá. The building is located near Plaza San Victorino, a lively square packed with people selling everything. It is known as the commercial "pot" of Colombia where most of the money is made in the whole country! It is also an area in which "your level of anxiety rises", one of the frightening places, yet the most visited places in Bogotá. Somebody said that the more dangerous the street is perceived to be the cheaper the goods are...

and this is one of the things you see every day. People searching in the garbage bags looking for anything that can be re-used from food to paper. I saw one of these mostly men, called recicladores, collecting pens from bags left near the University a lining them up on a stoned bench at the Plaza de Bolivar; patiently, he started to repair them, changing the broken parts or using the ink from one to fill the empty ones. That afternoon I saw spotted him again as I was having a coffee at the Garcia Marquez Cultural Centre; he walked around the tables offering the now-repaired pens to students.

I walked into the office of Patrimonio Fílmico, and I started watching some footage of documentaries produced by Arturo Acevedo, pioneer of the Colombian cinema and a producer and theater director from Antioquia who lived in Bogotá. After their introduction and the fascination foreign films caused in Colombia, theaters were no longer were as profitable and Acevedo decided to found a film production company called Acevedo e Hijos (Acevedo and sons).

Acevedo and sons has been longest lasting production company in Colombia and which existed from 1923 to 1946 and the only one to survive the 1930s crisis caused by the "Great Depression". Acevedo and sons produced the films "La tragedia del silencio" (The Tragedy of Silence) in 1924 and "Bajo el cielo antioqueño" (Under the sky of Antioquia) in 1928. Under the Sky of Antioquia was financed by back then local magnate Gonzalo Mejía. The film was criticized for being elitist but despite this the film had a somewhat positive acceptance among the public. Films in Colombia were mostly based on themes such as Nature, folklore and nationalism with some exceptions in literature. In 1926 the film Garras de oro (Claws of Gold) which was based on a political issue, the separation of Panama from Colombia and which criticized the role of the United States.

No comments:

Post a Comment