PLOT: Manuel (Hernán Mauricio Ocampo) is a young boy growing up in a rural area of Columbia where guerilla soldiers and the military terrorize the locals while fighting for power. One day, an older boy kicks Manuel's brand new soccer ball into a mine field. Manuel and his friends now have to figure out how to get it back.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: The boys work their way across the minefield by hopping from bolder to bolder. They climb a tree and rig a harness from the branches. Poca Luz (Genaro Aristizábal), a shy boy with glasses, is the smallest in the group. They convince him to climb into the harness and lower him to the ground. He has almost reached the ball when he loses his glasses. The branch breaks and he falls. Now the timid boy is standing hurt and blind in a minefield.
WHO IS THIS MOVIE FOR?: Like Munyurangabo, the Rwandan film I watched a few weeks ago, The Colors of the Mountain shows a side of the world we rarely see from Hollywood. Yes, there are American films set in Colombia, but (like many US films set in other countries) they almost always present the world from the American's point of view.
The Colors of the Mountain presents a community of peaceful individuals torn by the conflict between two opposing sides, but it is mostly told from the point of view of children. There is a great deal of innocence and delight in the film (with some moments that made me laugh out loud) but ultimately it is a dark film about people who are trampled despite their best intentions. While Manuel and his friends try to figure out how to get their ball back, his parents debate whether or not to help the guerilla soldiers. If they do they will be criminals. If they don't the guerillas will destroy them.
So who is this movie for? If you liked The Florida Project (a film that should have won best picture but wasn't even nominated) definitely check this movie out. They are both films that cover painfully tragic situations told from the point of view of children who maintain their innocence throughout much of the movie. Even if you didn't care for The Florida Project or have never heard of it, I'd suggest The Colors of the Mountain to anyone seeking a story that presents a very painful situation through the eyes of innocent but complex characters.
RUNTIME: 90 minutes.
DIRECTOR: Carlos César Arbeláez
WRITTEN BY: Carlos César Arbeláez
Hernán Mauricio Ocampo