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Film: Cerro Rico Tierra Rica

October 5, 2013 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Cerro Rico, Tierra Rica is a detailed observational mosaic about two distinct mining communities in southwestern Bolivia – an elegy to the landscape of the altiplano (the high plateaus of the Andes mountains) and a valuable ethnographic record of manual labor in the region. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Cerro Rico (Rich Hill), an enormous conical mountain that towers over the city of Potosi, provided half of the world’s silver and sustained the economy of the Spanish Empire during colonial times. Most of the mineral wealth of Cerro Rico has been depleted, but today more than ten thousand miners still work on the slopes and tunnels of the mountain looking for zinc, tin, lead, or a good vein of silver. Bolivia has recently discovered it contains half of the world’s lithium reserves in the Arctic-looking plains of the Salar de Uyuni, also in the Potosi region. These reserves are, for the moment, completely untapped. The parallel histories of these two sites help create a compelling portrait of mining life in Latin America – and makes us wonder if Bolivia will finally be able to harness these mineral resources for itself and for its own development. Cerro Rico, Tierra Rica follows the aesthetic quests of early observational documentaries, producing a unique and carefully constructed visual portrait of Andean culture. Accuracy and honesty in the depiction of the miners’ lives were main goals during the making of the project, but digital technologies were also used, on occasion, to lyrically expand the realm of the Bolivian landscape. As a whole, the project offers a strong denunciation of the hardships of the working class, and of the alienation inherent in industrial work inside the mines. But it is also an act of nostalgia for the loss of traditions and cultural legacies – the miners’ ways of life, unique customs, colorful garments and use of language – Quechua, in this particular instance. The indigenous culture of Bolivia has survived and maintained, if sometimes humbly, its sense of power, pride and self-knowledge, even after the ravages of colonialism and exploitation. Miners dig the tunnels of the Cerro, or extract the ever-abundant salt in the plains of the Salar de Uyuni, and their work, and these two stunning landscapes, represent both the past and the future of a mining nation. 90 min. http://latinfilmfestivalnc.com

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October 5, 2013
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Nelson Mandela Auditorium, FedEx GEC
301 Pittsboro. St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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