Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Amnesty International co-produced this visceral muckraking documentary that bears witness to one of the most hellish and lethal locales in the western hemisphere. Filmmaker Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire (who directed and shot, and should probably win a badge of courage for even walking into the region at the heart of his film) carried his cameras to 29th Street, in the Santo Domingo suburb of Medellin, Colombia. Such is an infamous neighborhood with a per capita murder rate so astronomical that each resident must either relocate or get slain; simply walking out onto the streets means committing suicide. Sauvaire hones in on a 13-year-old resident, Davidson 'Carlos' Ospina, a youth who somehow manages to make the trek from house to house while carrying a plaster statue of the Madonna, and collects both prayers and devastating anecdotes from the townspeople. As stories emerge from one subject after another, a pattern becomes readily apparent: that of hopeless, dead-end lives with no ability to attend school, play soccer or escape from the cycle of crime that binds them to death. Through everything, an intense level of Catholic faith and devotion to the Virgin Mary sustains each resident for as long as he or she manages to survive. Sauvaire places a uses much screen time to chart the psychological, sociological and emotional residual effects of such an environment on various community members.
city, Colombia, Colombian [nationality], crime, death, homicide, muckracking