Based solely on the title, Diana Bustamante’s documentary, Our Movie (Nuestra Pelicula), is not what you think it is. Well, that is until you actually think about what it means, and it becomes the perfect title.
Our Movie opens with a group of children singing the Colombian national anthem on the steps of its capital. It’s a video played on this particular television station as it signs off every night. Then things take a very dark turn as Bustamante pulls up old news video from the Colombian archives documenting the reign of terror its citizens faced from the powerful drug cartels under Pablo Escobar. The footage starts with reports of the kidnapping and assassination of Colombia’s inspector general along with beloved journalist Jorge Enrique Pulido. Thousands took to the streets to mourn their passing and cried in outrage over the government’s complicity and inability to exact justice. Yet, the public killings didn’t end there.
Before you know it, the violence becomes more intense, and the numbers of victims become more painful and unfortunate. At one point, random farming communities are targeted by the cartels dragging the men on these farms out into the open and publically executed as almost a message to the other farmer thinking of going against the cartel. The news then reports that over 2,000 political killings have occurred during the year, along with the murder of hundreds of farmers and workers.
“…documenting the reign of terror its citizens faced from the powerful drug cartels under Pablo Escobar.”
Now violence has become a normal way of life. We are shown b-roll of blood flowing down driveways and streets, bullet-ridden cars, shattered glass, and murder scenes. The madness and brutality only worsen as bullets fly while news cameras roll and the bodies drop in front of them. Arguably, the worst horror that occurred was learning that the cartels had hired 12-year-old boys as assassins.
As strange as it sounds, Our Movie is an apropos title for Bustamante’s documentary. This is about the filmmaker’s everyday life in Colombia, feeling afraid, and the crime that plays out over the airwaves daily. This fear certainly left an indelible impression on the nation’s children, who couldn’t escape the horror on their city streets and country roads. With the popularity of scripted shows like Narcos, the story of Pablo Escobar is on full display for an audience that was never there, but here, real life is what makes up this feature. It was happening in real-time, and Bustamante’s editing and storytelling skills powerfully lay out the horror.
Speaking of storytelling, Our Movie is 100% composed of news videos from start to finish. The filmmaker manages to tell a complete story designed to conjure the fear one felt living under these extreme circumstances using the news. Considering that this is a compilation piece, the film does what it needs to do to reinforce the notion that not only did unspeakable acts happen decades ago, it still goes on today in places like Rwanda.
Our Movie is perfect for the history buff. Going through thousands of hours, filmmaker Bustamante pieces together a cohesive yet haunting story of an entire country living in fear.
For screening information, visit the Our Movie official website.
"…a cohesive yet haunting story of an entire country living in fear."