Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nuestro Cine: El Salvador’s “olvidados”

One of the most significant Mexican films of all time was 1950’s “Los Olvidados” (“The Forgotten Ones), which focused on impoverished children living in Mexico City. That movie’s title can also apply to El Salvador’s youth who are lost in a maelstrom of crime and poverty.

U.S. President Barack Obama may have cut his trip to El Salvador a little short, but not before he announced several measures. He pledged $200 million for Central American states to address security concerns including combating gang violence. He also acknowledged the need for El Salvador to create job opportunities, especially for younger generations, in order to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S.

It remains to be seen if his words will translate into meaningful actions that will benefit Salvadorian youth, such as those who were the subject of “La Vida Loca” (“The Crazy Life”). The acclaimed documentary focused on El Salvador’s gang warfare and how adolescents get involved in such a dangerous way of life. The film provided an unflinching look at a very dark reality for one too many Salvadorans including footage of gang initiations and funerals.

The film’s insight into Salvadoran gang life eventually led to the 2009 murder of the documentary’s director, Christian Poveda. Two weeks ago a Salvadoran court convicted ten gang members suspected of assassinating Poveda, “an important message that impunity in crimes against journalists will not be tolerated” according to a Committee to Protect Journalists representative.

Below is the trailer from “La Vida Loca.” The images from Poveda’s magnum opus speak for themselves:

Video Source - YouTube
Online Sources- Cinelogue, Voice of America,, The Guardian, Committee to Protect Journalists

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