IFFR: Two shorts from the 2020 International Film Festival Rotterdam highlight experience from Central America to Pakistan, and beyond.
Neil Young
Young is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: February 13, 2020
La Espera, The Lost Procession

La Espera

Remember the Migrant Caravan? For several months in 2018 the semi-organised exodus of several thousand from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, slowly heading north with the intention of crossing the border into the United States, was a regular feature in worldwide news headlines. Especially in the USA, where the supposed «threat» from the Caravan played a major role in early November’s mid-term elections.

As polling day approached, reports in the country’s right-wing media outlets became increasingly dominated by scare-mongering hyperbole. But then, as soon as the polls closed and it became apparent that Donald Trump‘s Republican Party had performed below expectations, the entire story seemed to mysteriously vanish into the ether…

More than a year later, Danilo do Carmo and Jakob Krese’s poetic reportage La Espera (The Wait) now seeks –over the course of some 14 low-key minutes capturing glimpses of a single twenty-four-hour period – to show the faces and voices of the ordinary, patient, poor, and desperate people who made up the Caravan.

Amid the beauty of a rural Mexican sunset, campfires and tents are alive to the hubbub of conversation and the laughter of children. Faces are illuminated by the flickering, thin flames, cast into stark, expressive silhouette; the headlights of cars and trucks whizz by in the distance, blurred to abstraction.

the supposed «threat» from the Caravan played a major role in early November’s mid-term elections.

Scraps of dialogue are intermittently audible amid the whirring of insects, sketching the situation in a few economic words: «People are so persistent… »; «We won’t be happy anywhere until we’ve reached our destination… »; «As long as Donald Trump is around, there won’t be any refuge for us… »; «We are just a step away from the border… »; «Going back is not an option, I guess.»

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