How far and what sacrifices can a human being make in the search for bettering his life? And what dimension can such sacrifice have for people who were never forced to embark on journeys through the unknown, risking their lives, only to make ends meet? Mateo Tortone’s film Mother Lode tells the story of Jorge, who leaves his family behind in Lima’s favela to find work in the deep and dangerous mines of the Andes. But like with all good fictional stories, the film tells something universal. Though chances of success are low while the risks are extremely high, this brutal realism film makes tangible and vivid the existential fabric of working-class people who cannot afford not to take risks, not to uproot themselves and to stop believing that by doing so, luck might come their way and change the course of their story for better.
After his taxi – his only tool to make a living – collapses, Jorge, a taxi driver from Lima, takes his changes and goes in search of work at the deep mines of the Andes. He eventually ends up at La Rinconada, at more than 5000 meters altitude. La Rinconada is the highest human settlement in the world, at the feet of the Ananea Grande glacier. It is one of the most hostile environments on Earth, yet thousands of seasonal workers, just like him, travel there every year to find work and luck . . .
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