FILM REVIEW: Cinema Politica @ Northern Stage (20.4.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Cinema Politica took us to Lima, Peru for it’s April 2018 edition, with a screening of Pablo Malek’s documentary Protestas, Propuestas y Procesos in keeping with the theme of the culture of resistance. Cinema Politica Newcastle was established in 2010 providing local access to international independent activist cinema alongside their extended creative network – something not readily available outside of the group and vitally important to fostering a regional understanding to complex global issues.

Here taking centre stage is the relationship between the people and the state in a contemporary South American country known less for its politics and more for its culture – mainly a certain Incan citadel. Protestas, Propuestas y Procesos concerns itself deeply in the grass-roots, alternative culture resistance to the corruption and chaos of the governments which have plagued and destroyed domestic class structure and life since the reign of President Alberto Fujimori – essentially, it’s the story of hip-hop protest culture clashing with state authorities in an attempt to defend the rights of nationals in the face of gentrification and land stripping, and of a modern feminist voice seeking to bring justice to a people’s who have been ignored, marginalised and even sterilised over three turbulent decades.

The film itself is interesting documentation of complex modernisation. Painted entirely, and probably fairly, from the perspective of the people, it shows the affect of expanded tourism on indigenous life and culture. Furthermore, it shows the storied and unsurprisingly depressing situation of natives in deeply corrupt South American states. Violence, organised crime and profiteering by public officials are widely documented for a reason – here we see empirical evidence on film of daily struggle for those who live outside the cosy upper class boundary.

As a piece of work Protestas, Propuestas y Procesos is fine, similar to Vice documentaries where each segment starts with a new and different urban soundtrack. It’s not subtle, but it doesn’t need to be. As a location though Northern Stage is unsuitable for film viewing. Spare a thought for those short of six foot – I spent one hundred minutes staring at the back of a strangers head, unable to see subtitles or the screen or well much at all – but what I saw I liked.

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