- Title: FRANCE: "Altiplano" brings Peru's indigenous population to Cannes Film Festival
- Date: 23rd May 2009
- Summary: CANNES, FRANCE (MAY 21, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF CANNES FILM FESTIVAL PALACE FILM FESTIVAL POSTER CROWDS IN FRONT OF THE PALACE PEOPLE ON THE BEACH IN FRONT OF THE PALACE ACTRESS MAGALY SOLIER WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS ON THE BEACH YACHTS IN THE BAY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ACTRESS MAGALY SOLIER, SAYING: "It was quite crazy to play the role in Altiplano. I just asked for two weeks to learn the role of this character and of course we had rehearsals, as well. And it helped me very much to rehearse with all the other people who were playing in this film. So when you get together and socialise with those people (indigenous people), I don't know, but for me things get fluent and little by little, the character builds up itself."
- Reuters ID: LVA5TGYJ2WNTYDCVLTK9PBIFNK5E
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:01:03
- Story Text: "Altiplano" brings the lives of indigenous people from the Andean mountains of Peru to the red carpet at the Cannes film festival on the French Riviera.
The film features the Peruvian actress Magaly Solier who plays Grace, a war photographer who, disillusioned after a violent incident in Iraq, goes to join her Belgian husband, Max, in Peru.
Max is a cataract surgeon working at an eye clinic in the high Andes, where in nearby Turubamba villagers are succumbing to illnesses caused by a mercury spill from a local mine.
This is where the story of Saturnina is woven in, a young woman in Turubamba who loses her fiancÃ© to the contamination. The villagers turn their rage on the foreign doctors, and in the ensuing riot Max is killed. Saturnina takes drastic measures to protest against what she sees as the endless violations towards her people and their land, and Grace sets out on a journey of mourning to the place of Max's death.
"We spent years preparing this film. Our background is in documentary films, when you make a documentary you take something from people, it's the same as fiction, so you have to be respectful and have integrity.
It's the basis of authenticity. Once people understand what you are doing and why you are there, they give you an awful lot. And once you see the film, you understand Peru and these people in the Andes have given us an awful lot," the Belgian director Brosens said.
"They trusted us actually, they were observing us constantly and seeing how we interacted with local people especially," his North American counterpart Jessica Woodworth went on.
The international co-production is not a film about Peru but a film created with Peru, Brosens says. He said they have made films in Peru, Mongolia, Ecuador and Morocco, but reject exoticism, which focuses on the differences between cultures and thrives on clichÃ©s, to concentrate on dialogue between cultures.
"So when we go to Mongolia or Peru, those are places where we still find landscapes, where we still meet people who consider themselves part of the larger universe which is a social source of humility. So basically it is another look at reality, at life, and what we try to do," Brosens said.
The directors say they were drawn to upheavals that strike the cords of global public debates on ethics and responsibility, and were inspired by the devastating mercury spill in the Peruvian village of Choropampa in 2000.
At Altiplano's heart is an ongoing invisible conflict in the Andes they say, "invisible" because many individuals who take up arms against the industrial giants operating in the mineral-rich Andes disappear and there is so little profound coverage of these conflicts in our media.
The director hopes Altiplano evokes an inner dialogue and, ideally, leave an indelible mark etched on the soul of the viewer.
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