Review: Familia

The Swedish filmmaker Mikael Wistrom first met the Barrientos family over 30 years ago whilst working on another film in Peru. He remained in contact with them and so heard about the hardships and tough decisions that they were facing. Knowing that their situation represented that of many Peruvian families, he returned to tell their story. Language: Spanish Country of production: Sweden Running time: 82 mins Directors: Mikael Wistrom and Alberto Herskovits Starring: Naty Barrientos Genre: Documentary Studio: Manharen film and tv – Ventana Film AB Rating: 4 stars   The Film Naty is the heart of her family. She is a mother, grandmother and devoted spouse. As the film opens, she makes the difficult decision to leave them all and travel across the Atlantic to Spain. She is at an age where she should be reaping the rewards of years spent working hard, but instead she has found a job as a maid in a Spanish hotel in order to try and ease the financial burdens on her family. The narrative voice in this documentary is provided by Naty’s daughter, Judith. She is a gentle, artistic soul who keeps a diary to cope with all the pressures surrounding her mother’s departure. She feels shame that she has not gone instead of her mother, as well as the pressure of filling her shoes.   The Review Wistrom and Herskovits have given us a unique insight into family life with an intimacy very rarely achieved on a cinema screen. The film in no way tries to give an explicit social commentary, neither does it pass judgement on the actions of...

Pastoruri, Ice and Snow.

What a perfect day for the #FriFotos theme of snow and ice! I currently feel as though I am inside a snowglobe. It has not stopped snowing all day; endless flakes just dancing through the sky, each one miniscule, but together they are creating quite sizeable drifts. I love how fresh snow makes everything look so pretty, even if underneath it is fairly drab. But the image I have chosen is from somewhere a little further from home – the Pastoruri Glacier in Ancash, Peru. Seeing it was one of those defining moments in my travels – I can still remember every detail of coming over the ridge of the mountain, dizzy from the altitude, and just standing there, gaping. I was the very definition of awestruck. Glaciers bring vividly to life the immense, visceral power of ice and snow – quite removed from the dancing flakes outside my window right now. If it’s snowing where you are, I hope you enjoy it, whether you hit the ski slopes, go sledging, or simply snuggle inside. Where is your favourite place to be in the snow?    ...

Friday Photo: Picture-Perfect Arequipa

I am dipping my toe back into the fun that is #FriFotos and offering a Friday Photo on the theme of Curves – which sounds just too sensuous for a Friday lunchtime! Arequipa, Peru, has to be one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Sitting pretty against a backdrop of volcanoes, Arequipa’s founders seem to have designed the city to be in harmony with the views. White stone buildings are interspersed with green palm trees, all elegant and well-planned. High above the city centre, poetry has been engraved into arches, which provide frames through which to view Arequipa’s beauty. Oh to be back in that very spot right now! Which city would you recommend for its...

Friday Photo: A Portrait of Peru

I love blogging, I really do. There are so many enjoyable things about it, but today my particular fondness for it comes from the opportunity it gives me to look back through all my travel photos in order to select images for posts, and particularly for the Friday Photo. Linking up with the #FriFotos theme of Faces, one of my enduring favourites from Peru is this very spontaneous shot I took at a parade in the town of Chavin. As schoolchildren in Sunday best marched by, I spotted this group of women opposite me and, in a gap between marching groups, I quickly snapped them. I thought they hadn’t even noticed me take their picture, what with people photographing the parade the whole time, but when I reviewed the photo, I noticed that one woman had caught me. Her expression is an absolute picture. I love the off-guard expressions of the others, but her gaze is the most powerful. I caught her, but she caught me too! Do you have a favourite spontaneous photo? Where did you take it?...

Friday Photo: Stars

When the #FriFotos theme for this week was announced over on Twitter, I got seriously excited. I mean, this is Starry-Eyed Travels, and the theme is STARS. Couldn’t be more perfect, really. Except, as I flicked through my photos, from all my trips, I realised I didn’t really have any of stars. I love photos of the cosmos, but they are tricky to take, requiring a long exposure, and it’s something I have not mastered yet. So, this week’s image is a somewhat creative interpretation on the theme. I loved watching these boys play football with an old plastic bottle, running between light and shadow – and the lights of the houses on the mountainside above twinkled like stars. Now, please excuse me, I have to go and learn how to take long-exposure night...
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