- Title: ARGENTINA: Buenos Aires' rough barrios exposed through lens of slum dweller
- Date: 19th July 2013
- Summary: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (JULY 18, 2013) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) "DIAGNOSIS HOPE" DIRECTOR, CESAR GONZALEZ, SAYING: "(It's) a new way of saying "Look, I'm from the slum and I too can worry about form and it is not just a film, there is intellectual thought to it." I think that one way to vindicate this is with all documentary the images in the film of the barrio I live in, Carlos Gardel or Fuerte Apache which is another slum-- more than anything, just two neighbourhoods. Images like this, documentaries which break out into films, I think that it has more to do with the plot."
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2013 13:00
- Location: Argentina
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAEL4C9AII6NAP0DS6K6ZN6NXLL
- Story Text: A slum dweller from Buenos Aires' mean barrios made his cinematic debut in the sprawling capital on Thursday (July 18) in a breakout film that looks to challenge negative stereotypes and build hope for change among Buenos Aires' poorest residents.
"Diagnosis Hope" is the title of the film that has critics buzzing. Directed by Cesar Gonzalez, a slum dweller from the rough streets of Barrio Carlos Gardel, it's a semi-autobiographical story that follows the life of former teen inmate Alex as he attempts to break out of a life of stark poverty in one of Latin America's most unequal capitals.
With the film's plot paralleling his own life, Gonzalez told Reuters he would not have escaped his childhood barrio without hard work and determination.
"To motivate me to do a movie first I worked a lot before studying. I studied a lot in editing, photography, camera as well as the history of cinema. Also, I studied in U.B.A. (Buenos Aires University) and everything I read when I was in prison. We would not be here if it weren't for a lot of work, almost two years of work, that has just been unveiled to the public today," he said.
The cast and crew of the groundbreaking doco-film are from the barrios and the work offers a new perspective of their daily lives.
"(It's) a new way of saying "Look, I'm from the slum and I too can worry about form and it is not just a film, there is intellectual thought to it." I think that one way to vindicate this is with all documentary the images in the film of the barrio I live in, Carlos Gardel or Fuerte Apache which is another slum-- more than anything, just two neighbourhoods. Images like this, documentaries which break out into films, I think that it has more to do with the plot," he added.
Buenos Aires' slums, which litter the outskirts of the city, have a reputation for being a den of juvenile delinquents, layabouts and drug addicts, and media coverage of the barrios has exacerbated that reputation.
Gonzalez said his film finally reveals the truth about life in the capital's slums, or "villeras".
"The essence of this movie is that it's from the slum. That the essence of the movie be "villera" (Argentine term for "slum") and if I claim that the essence is from the slum, it is because we are tired. I think this tiredness was all felt by participants in the film. On television, in the cinema, the slums are presented as something obscene, very bizarre, overacted; we're presented as ignorant in the slum. We are not reflective creatures, nor are we beings who can reflect. As we're depicted, we are not people who could become professionals in a career," said Gonzalez.
According to the "Un Techo Para Mi Pais" (in English "A Roof For My Country") NGO, over half a million families live across nearly 900 slums and irregular settlements in Buenos Aires metropolitan area.
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