Agarrando pueblo / Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês

6 April, 2014 - 18:00

“In the early 1970’s there appeared a certain type of documentary that superficially appropriated the achievements and methodologies of independent film to the point of deformation. in this way, poverty became a shocking theme and a product easily sold, especially abroad, where it is the counterpart to the opulence of consumption... We made a kind of antidote or Mayakovskian bath to open people’s eyes to the exploitation behind the miserabilist cinema which turns human beings into objects, into instruments of a discourse foreign to their own condition.” (Carlos Mayolo & luis Ospina)


“The government broadly financed historical films, but it wanted the history to be within official parameters – the hero, the father of the country, all those things we have been told since elementary school. I made How Tasty Was my little Frenchman, which does not correspond in any way to the of- ficial vision of history, under these circumstances. The film was not even considered to be historical, but rather purely fictional, as if official history were not fiction.” (Nelson Pereira dos Santos)

Agarrando pueblo (The Vampires of Poverty)

Carlos Mayolo & Luis Ospina

Filmed in Cali and Bogotá, Agarrando Pueblo follows an unscrupulous film director as he and his cameraman wander around the cities looking for unwilling subjects for a documentary commissioned by German television. “Deliberately detached from the accusatory militant left, Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo launch in 1978 what could be called their cinematic-political thesis: Agarrando Pueblo (The Vampires of Poverty), an outrageous protest of national and international documentary models, which at the time – and even today – shamelessly exploited all kinds of third-world suffering (referred to by the directors as ‘poverty-porn’) and exported it to European television stations and festivals. Counterinformative from beginning to end and in every sense of the word, the film mixes staged and real scenes of a typical film crew commissioned by a Germany television channel to seek out archetypical social horrors, trampling over the basic principles of professional ethics, the meaning of information and – naturally – sociological research.” (Isleni Cruz Carvajal)

Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês (How Tasty Was My little Frenchman)

Nelson Pereira dos Santos

Jaundiced cultural allegory dressed up as anthropological re-creation, How Tasty Was My little Frenchman slyly links Montaigne’s who-are-the-real-savages query to Brazil’s military dictatorship. Pereira draws from multiple historical sources— especially German explorer Hans Staden’s 1557 memoir—to tell the story of a French soldier’s experience as a captive of the cannibalistic Tupinambá tribe. “Pereira constructs a comic horror film in which sixteenth-century intertexts are read as current events in an analogy of colonialism with global capitalism. This film is Pereira’s response to Brazil’s building of the Trans-Amazon Highway, in the course of which contact with indigenous communities was made that threatened them with near extinction. The current destruction of habitat and native populations recalled to Pereira the traumas of colonization... The ingesting of foreign invaders thus becomes for Pereira a metaphor for indigenous resistance to global capitalism, the most recent form of economic colonization.” (Virginia Higginbotham)