Two documentaries to watch for

Two upcoming documentaries will feature life in El Salvador, up close and personal.

The first is Las Chulas. From the website of the film maker Rattle Can Films:
Las Chulas is a character-driven documentary about coming of age and finding a place in post-Civil War El Salvador. The story follows the lives of three unique young girls; Maria, Yoselin, and Erika, as they face the challenges of growing up in a country rife with gang violence, drugs, and poverty. Living in a small beach community, the girls discover surfing and with it, a newfound sense of their own potential and the possibilities of a life beyond the everyday despair that threatens to smother them.

Second is La Vida Loca, a film by Christian Poveda. From this film's website:
Filmed in close-up using a hand-held camera, this will be La vida Loca, the crazy life, as the pandilleros say. For a year, the camera will focus on daily life in a base cell of one of the gigantic maras, the la Campanera MS-18 clique, composed of fifty or so engaging adolescents and young adults with an average age of 16 - 18. This clica is run as a kind of egalitarian community, a sort of self-proclaimed brotherhood of outsiders, half street-kids, half child soldiers. In the background, the film will faithfully chronicle the hopes and fears of the inhabitants of this new tropical suburb of Los Angeles, the periphery of San Salvador. Twenty years after a revolutionary war that devastated the nation, a new civil war, just as terrible, is pitting the poor against the poor. A "perfect crime of globalisation", as the philosopher Jean Baudrillard would say.

Although neither documentary is out in public release, their respective websites have long trailers, as well as photos, synopses and more.


Anonymous said…
Im fed up with watching documentaries made about the gangs. I think we all know whats going on by now and why they're there. Thats unless you've been living under a rock. And La Vida Loca? Are we that entetched with chicano culure now that people asscociate that with us? Sometimes hearing these Salvadorans talk like that makes me wonder if they even know how much less Salvadoran they sound.
Unknown said…
The documentary claims that it is depicting "the disintegration of family life within salvadorean society". It also states that "La vida loca is what life is about over there".

These are claims much too wide, stereotypical and simplistic to be seriously considered by us salvadoreans.

They may hold true for foreigners who will watch the documentary so that movies like "boyz in the hood" or "training day" are justified in their heads with morbid reality based film making.

But us salvadoreans know, that the decent people who still live in families are definitely MORE, MUCH MORE in numbers than the unfurtunate MINORITY, who have descended, devolved, and marginalized themselves into the cavemen-like Maras.

This is an undeniable truth. Otherwise Tim could not have visited El Salvador recently, because if our family life had completly deteriorated, then the country would be something in between darfour and cambodia under the kmer rouge.

And it is not.

But an indecent, degenerate, ruthless and damaging minority is wrecking havoc among the decent minority.

Because that majority must look after the rights of the murderous indecent, value-deprived minority.

And the time is coming for the majority to start rethinking the long run common sense of trying to recover and to rehabilitate those who do not really deserve it.

And the time will come when the majority will no longer heed the tale on how rehabilitating one of them should be worth the sacrifice of all decent ones who must die waiting for that rehabilitation.

And the time will come not because I say so, nor wish it to be.

It will come because the Maras will have dug their own graves, as they are doing now, without them taking note of it.

Unknown said…
Oh and you know who deserves particular and special mention?

All those people with whom Tim spoke during his travel to El Salvador, who were well below the poverty line, and who still manage to have SOLID FAMILY VALUES.

They are the unsung heroes of living in El Salvador. They are the true moral fiber that holds that country together. A country whose miracle is not being where it is economically speaking, as the official line puts it. For El Salvador's miracle, is actually not being a second haiti or darfour in spite of having no natural resources, being overpopulated and coming from a violent past.

That is the real miracle.

And those who still manage to raise children and try to hold their families together in the midst of that "miracle", are its unsung heroes.

Tim said…
There's a balance between denial that a serious problem exists and glamorization or exploitation of the tragedy of gangs and their violence in El Salvador. It's my understanding that Poveda spent months with one particular gang clique and he takes the camera into their lives. Read more in this interview with Poveda.

Chishi -- certainly there are many strong families in El Salvador. I know many of them, including those who struggle to make ends meet, to raise their kids right and create a loving family.
Anonymous said…
Hello all. Where can I find these movies to watch? Are the dvd's available somewhere? Any suggestions? I'm in So Cal. Thanks.