“Tantas almas”: Another Face of the Armed Conflict in Colombia

In the last decade, Colombian films that address, directly or indirectly, the armed conflict in the country have featured internationally.

Still from the production

The film “Tantas Almas” by Nicolás Rincón Gille will be the representative of Colombia for the 36th edition of the Goya awards to be held in 2022. Photo: YT-Medio de Conntación Producciones

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Ángel Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: “Tantas Almas”: otra cara del conflicto armado en Colombia

The Colombian Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences (ACACC) announced on August 23 that the film "Tantas Almas" by Nicolás Rincón Gille will be the representative of Colombia for the 36th edition of the Goya awards to be held in 2022. In the 35th edition, which was held this year, Colombia won its first award for Best Ibero-American Film with the film "El olvido que seremos" by Fernando Trueba, a film also focused on the Colombian conflict.

What is "Tantas almas" about?

The Magdalena River is the main setting for "Tantas Almas", the most recent film by director Nicolás Rincón Gille that tells us about José's infinite journey to find the bodies of his children, murdered by paramilitaries. Thus, the film focuses on the repercussions of the conflict in Colombia, not on its causes, not on the violence itself, but on those people who have suffered its ravages. José seeks to live with dignity the mourning for the loss of his children by burying them, something so basic that he has been denied. And the problem is not only the impossibility of living his grief, but at the same time, that search puts him in danger. The film reflects the loneliness of José both physically and emotionally, his journey through the river is a path without a destination and without a fixed time, he does not know where he is going, nor what he will really find, what we can understand as hopelessness.

This is how Rincón Gille shows the reality of thousands of people who lost their loved ones thanks to the violence in Colombia and that could well be extrapolated to all of Latin America. The victims leave behind families who cannot close the cycle, have not been able to say goodbye and, in many cases, do not even know what happened to their relatives. Although it is a fiction film, Rincón Gille manages to print his stamp of documentary filmmaker, his trilogy "Campo hablado" ("Noche herida", "En lo escondido" and "Los abrazos del río"") has allowed him to develop a language and learn about the issue of the armed conflict in your country. "Los abrazos del río" is especially important as it focuses on the mythical relationship of the Magdalena river with the social problems derived from violence, the same elements that have allowed it to develop "Tantas almas".

You can also read: Old: The New Film by Gael García that Ventures into Philosophical Horror

The growth of Colombian cinema

"So Many Souls" has already become a hit. It will only be released on September 16 in theaters in Colombia, but the film has already garnered recognition abroad, among them the Golden Star at the Marrakech Film Festival in 2019, according to ProimImages Colombia. Now he is on the road to Goya seeking to emulate what he achieved this year by "El olvido que seremos", having in common the approach to the conflict, although in different scenarios and perspectives. Since the 31st edition of the Spanish award, Colombia has shown growth in recognition of its cinema, being present in almost all the nominations, the exception was the 33rd edition. It was until the 35th edition (held this year) that the country won its first award in the category of Best Ibero-American Film, which is not a minor thing. Of the four most recent Colombian films nominated for the Goya, two address violence and the country's political and social problems: "Monos" and "El olvido que seremos", to which "Tantas Almas" could be added next year.

The growth of Colombian cinema goes hand in hand with its media industry, the contents produced in the country are exported to practically all of Latin America either through direct transmission or adaptations. The cinema has also taken advantage of this dynamic and multiplied its production, frequently standing out internationally. An example of this is "The Embrace of the Serpent", which achieved the nomination for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, the aforementioned Goya, and two awards. Ariel in the past five years (awaiting delivery this year).

The identity of Colombian cinema

Apparently, Colombian cinema has been nourished by the political and social conflicts of the country, since in the last decade a good part of the most recognized films in the world has as their thematic axis, directly or indirectly, the armed conflict. Among them, we can cite "Tantas almas", "El olvido que seremos", "Monos", "Matar a Jesús", "Manos sucias", "Pájaros de verano" and "Alias María", to mention some examples that have been candidates to represent the country in various awards. It is difficult to establish if the identity of Colombian cinema is reduced to the armed conflict and its consequences, it is a phenomenon that is repeated throughout Latin America. It is enough to see the nominees and winners in the prizes of the region and the Goya in which violence is one of the common axes. Colombian cinema cannot be alien to reality, despite the fact that a good part of its film production focuses on the conflict, it has also stood out with works not related to it, we can mention the examples of "Anna" and "El abrazo de la snake "that show a different face of the country.


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