A Colonial Friend / Porter / Second Class 0+

(L´ami y´a bon / Solo un Cargador / Deuxiéme Classe), Rachild Bouchareb / Juan Alejandro Ramírez / Gérard Désiré Nguele, FR / Peru / Kamerun 2004, 57 min

In 1940 France entered into the war against Germany and announced not only the mobilization of its territory, but its colonies as well. Senegalese Aby enlists in the front, distinguishes himself in battle, and is captured. But when he returns to his country, the French army refuses to pay him for his services. This animated film records the 1944 incident in which Senegalese veterans were gunned down after demanding to receive payment for their military service. / "The depths of the soul are farther away than the ends of the earth." This Nordic proverb is used as a motto for this meditative film by director Juan Alejandro Ramirez. The special rhythm of the footage of a porter of luggage in the tourist destinations of the great mountains of Peru is accompanied by Ramirez's own fictitious commentary. This arose on the basis of the filmmaker's experience with seasonal workers and is conceived as an internal monologue of the Peruvian porter Juan Manuel Orozco, nicknamed "Sad Face". "No one knows what tomorrow will be like but I'm sure, it'll look like today," the author inserts these words into the mouth of Juan Orozco, who day after day hauls on his back up the steep incline of the Peruvian Andes the luggage of tourists and appears in the footage of Ramirez's camera the most often. The melancholic mood of the film is made more powerful by Chopin's piano melodies, which add a strong existential charge. A very humane film, which has received acclaim in several prestigious film festivals, and resembles in its formal features the raw poetry of Latin American cinematography. / After fifteen years, Cameroonian Gerard Desire Nguele returns to the train upon which as a boy he traveled with his mother to visit his brother. The old train needs several hours to cover the 35 kilometer railroad track, time in which the filmmaker talks to the passengers, watches women jumping onto the train directly from the bush, and observes children who are breastfeeding. During the journey across one of the oldest railroad lines in Cameroon, the director tries to reconcile himself with the recent death of his mother; an attempt to learn to live without her and "become a man".


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