WALKING WITH CECILIA
Michaela Krimmer, Fritz Ofner | Austria, Colombia 2006 | 55 Min.
Cocaine, guerrilla, paramilitarists, civil war – recurring topics if one talks about Colombia, setting for a civil war that smoldered for decades. They are inseparably connected with Cecilia’s story. She’s an Indian woman around forty from the Arhuacos. Three years ago she was accused of cooperation with the “paras”, she had to get away, out of the jungle, which is the area of the guerrilla, into the city with her children and grandmother. She also turned her back on her husband. Meanwhile she became a businesswoman. A ghetto blaster, a mobile phone, her own home with water and a TV – those are the signs of a modest wealth. Adding to this is a friend of the guerrilla who lives in sublease as a kind of living warrantor for some safety. Today, Cecilia wants to go back in the mountains, where she grew up. She asks the shaman for advice. She waits for the call of the “commandante”, the lover of her subtenant, hopes for his permission to set foot in the Sierra Nevada again. The normal course of life.
A few hours later: the jungle, dirt tracks, waterfalls, the Sierra Nevada, untouched nature. Without the permission of the commandante Cecilia, her children, the grandmother, the donkey and the film crew would not be here. They would not be any more. The return in the village, the view across the mountains of Colombia and the hidden camps of the guerrillas, the step in her own house, opening the nailed-up windows, sweeping the rubbish away. Cecilia plans to rebuild her farm. At the village square an evangelical priest preaches loudly the arrival of the devil and courts for new followers among the Indians. A hopeless courting. The devil of modernity reached Colombia long ago, he can be found in traditional structures and individual lives among the indigenous population. Cecilia will keep on sweeping.
Their joint and self-financed film debut “Walking with Cecilia” is the portrait of a self-conscious, independent life of a woman in-between militant parties and rivaling religions. Cecilia looks for her way in the dangerous no man’s land of self-determination, between the wars of others, the dirt tracks of Colombia’s men. At the end of the film she seems to have found her way. Today, one year after the turning operations, Cecilia is in prison.