In a coma

· Culture, Latin America, Violence

En comaInside the context of the international short film festival in Bogota, I want to write about some of my favorite short movies. Of course, there are many and from many nations and I believe this is becoming already a new (old) film gender – I said old because short films were the first experiments during the first steps of cinema in history. The internet has allowed us to see the production of movies around the world and to decentralize the production from giants such as Hollywood that get also a benefit knowing talents that in other way would not be reachable. 

In this sense, it is very important to create festivals, reviews and, of course, financial support for small producers and indi films in order to develop it, to increase quality.

A great example for me is this work of Juan David Restrepo from Medellin, Colombia and his first big investment in a movie, although it is not properly a short film: En coma (90 minutes). Restrepo was the winner in a contest before the Colombian Film Development Fund to realize his production with Venezuelan Henry Rivero.

The story is about Omar, the leader of a Medellin gang that gets in love with Ilana. The tenderness of this relation makes him to decide a radical change in his life, but before doing it, he engaged in a last criminal operation to get some money. Everything gets bad and he ended in jail, while Cheo, his accomplice, disappears with the loot.

The sentence is one month in jail, a time of desperation, but Ilana, in the aim to gather some money to get him out of prison, accepts the proposal of Angie,  a prostitute that brings her to a non-return point. When Omar left the jail, he will look for girlfriend to discover terrible things he would not expect.

The most moving moment to my view is when Omar finds Ilana at the hospital, in a coma, and cries their fate.

Most of the scenes are shot at Barrio Antioquia, a district famous for being the center of drugs, gangs and prostitution in Medellín, so the movie becomes more interested to this fact. When it is about gangs and violence in Colombian films and television series such as Pablo Escobar, the Patron of Evil or The Virgin of the Assassins, there is a rejection from some national groups that see it as a bad publicity for Colombia in its international image.

I don’t find such productions more violent than the ones of Hollywood or the Chinese cinematography. Then I don’t see why we should hide in art the reality of violence. Reading this unfortunate critic by Pedro A. Zuluága in his blog, we finish with a feeling that artist must do works according to certain hidden social expectations difficult to explain. Zualuaga goes far to call the movie of Restrepo as unseemly. What he was expecting? A Colombian tourist promotion?

Finally, I need to declare that this work of Restrepo motivates me to inscribe myself at Lights Film School. I hope to get my first production too, a kind of syncretic process between Medellín and Cambodia.

Find En coma here (123) with English subtitles in youtube.

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