Rotterdam Bright Future Preview: 'Corta' (On The African Craft Of Harvesting Sugarcane In Colombia)

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by Courtney
December 7, 2012 12:42 PM
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From the looks of the teaser below, as well as the description of the film, it's probably safe to say that it's more of a visual mood piece that would likely be better appreciated in a museum that in a movie theater.

Not that there's anything wrong with that at all. Just making an observation. But I haven't seen the film, so it may be something totally different than what I imagine.

One of 68 feature films in this year's Rotterdam Bright Future section (which is devoted to first or second features), where it made its world premiere, is Corta by Felipe Guerrero, a Colombia/Argentina/France co-production about the craft of harvesting sugarcane in Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

Here's how the filmmaker describes it:

Corta is a film about the hypnotic extenuation generated by the body movements of sugar cane cutters in the Valle del Cauca (Colombia). Corta is a contemplation film of the gestures of hand labour while the surrounding plantations disappear, a pure cinematic experience about the natural and everyday ritual of a timeless world. The Corta project arises from my interest in the cane cutters who work in the southwestern region of Colombia. I knew about the precarious conditions for those whose lives depend on the manual cutting of sugar cane, but what I wanted to film from this world was the sense of frenzy that imbues these men's survival. I meant to observe the rhythm of their movements in their daily struggle, cut by cut.

Key terms there being "hypnotic," "contemplation film" and "pure cinematic experience." 

I did some further research on the Valle del Cauca region, as well as sugar cane plantations in Colombia to learn that African slaves first began being imported into Colombia by the Spaniards in the 16th century, to replace the rapidly declining native American population. Africans were forced to work in amongst other key areas, in gold mines and on sugar cane plantations. African labor was essential even through today. African workers are said to have pioneered the growing of sugar cane in the areas like the aforementioned Valle del Cauca.

It makes me think of Chocó, the Colombian film we recently profiled, which centers on the struggles of a 27-year-old Afro-Colombian mother of 2, working a poorly-paid job in a gold mine, living in a tiny wooden hut, who's married to a reckless and abusive marimba player, who gambles away their life savings.

Watch the teaser for Corta below, as it continues to travel the international film festival circuit:

Corta (2012) Trailer from Felipe Guerrero on Vimeo.

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