When Colombia‘s president Juan Manuel Santos signed a historic peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC) in November 2016 it was heralded as an unprecedented move in the country’s long march to peace.
The deal, which ended 53 years of civil war, earned Santos a Nobel Prize and brought hope to millions of Colombians, where GDP hovers around $700 per capita annual – far behind its southern neighbour’s Brazil‘s $3,200.
But, as this eloquent and sensitive Finnish documentary shows, the peace deal did little to quell violence or inequality in the country of 48 million, where a small elite – mostly descended from Spanish settlers – controls the lion’s share of its resources.
The directors open with a lengthy and poignant sequence that introduces FARC guerrillas in their jungle base as they prepare to give up their arms. A long opening shot shows one of them cradling a «liberated» government semi-automatic rifle as he tells of his love for his weapon.
Camp is struck and bonfires made of all the equipment the mixed group of armed men and women will not be taking with them.
Sadness and anxiety are evident in the ranks – even if one of the senior men, self-educated, tries to quell their concerns. Privately, in a conversation with trusted colleagues, he later admits that demobilised FARC members are already being taken off buses by paramilitaries and shot.
There is a resignation about FARC’s standing down after more than half a century of conflict. The men and women recognise that the war cannot be won, and they know that peace is the only way forward. But, as they traverse vast distances …
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