Colombia | 89 MINUTES
The first film from Ciro Guerra,The Wandering Shadows is a somber yet hopeful look at modern-day Colombia, where simply getting to the end of the day can be a challenge. Two men meet in downtown Bogotá-one is missing a leg, the other is a "silletero," a man who carries another man for money. Each character bears the burden of a bitter past life. The perpetual duress and subdued optimism that marks the unique relationship between the lead characters acts as a prism through which heartbeat of Colombia is viewed. Theater-trained actors César Badillo and Ignacio Priet bring distinctive presence and intensity to their roles with the help of a script that, though pure fiction, draws its emotional resonance from the director's personal experiences. The "silletero" is loosely based on a man Guerra knew as a child: "I was intrigued by this man who dedicated his life to carry other men on his shoulders. And that symbolizes for me the burden that all of us in Colombia carry, with the never ending situation of war…" Guerra proves himself a born filmmaker, deftly calling upon influences from both Italian neorealism and the Latin-American cinema of the '60s in both his casting and his distinctive mise-en-scene. The Wandering Shadows takes cinema's rockiest road-the one that relies upon poetry and metaphors to tell its truth. The film wants to express conflict without bullets, redemption without religion. It is, in the words of this talented new director, "a film about the conflict that we live expressed through the traces left by that conflict on people's faces."