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GROUPO DE CALI: 1971-1978
SPECTACLE THEATER
Brooklyn, NY
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GROUPO DE CALI: 1971-1978
Dir. Various
Total running time: 68 minutes

OIGA, VEA!
aka See, Hear!
Co-directed by Carlos Mayolo.
1971. 27 min.

Made in the style of a straight-shooting As The World Turns style mini-documentary, OIGA, VEA! serves as psychic exposé of Cali upon the arrival of the 6th annual Panamerican Games in 1971. Shooting with a handheld 16mm camera borrowed from Carlos Mayolos ad agency workplace, the film finds wobbly panoramas on spectacular assemblages, but always from the outside  an exteriority which defines itself fuller in the films cockeyed dissection of the Games pomp and circumstance. Rallies of military might serve only to demonstrate their planners unmistakable Cold War anxieties, and proprietary feats of infrastructural know-how  like a new railroad track, received by some shantytowns like manna from heaven  exposed for the limited-time-only publicity perks they are. Ospina and Mayolo steal glimpses at once officially decorative and incisively marginal; by the films end, the bitterness engendered by the project has been transferred in total from the shantytowns outside the Games encampment, and directly into the audience.

CALI: LA PELICULA
aka Cali: The Movie
1973. 13 min.

The frantic, colorful CALI DE PELICULA is antithesis to the sort of pedantic misery porn Mayolo and Ospina would mock in AGARRANDO PUEBLO. Like a Mondo movie without the voiceover, Ospina and Mayolo frame bullfighting as silent slapstick, turn voyeuristic girl-watching ominous with a horror heartbeat, and capture life at street level, a pagan carnival churning by. Dancing, so vital to social life in the area, is shown in all its movement and color, but capturing faces without smiles or real joy  even enjoying themselves Calis citizens are cautious.

AGARRANDO PUEBLO
aka The Vampires of Poverty
Co-directed by Carlos Mayolo.
1978. 28 min.

This program concludes with AGARRANDO PUEBLO, widely recognized as the Groups masterpiece. Mayolo and Ospina star as effigies of themselves, wielding Bolexes and Nagras on a mission to make the perfect cine de sobreprecio (surcharge film) for German television  skewering a then-commonplace of Colombian cinema dictated by the Committee for Quality Control, a government-supported bureau intended to help foster a national cinema but a de facto organ of censorship. Retitled THE VAMPIRES OF POVERTY in English, Agarrando Pueblo mistranslates a number of ways along the lines of the clutching of poverty and the tricking of the people  Ospina described it as a popular regional phrase at the time. The certainly film gives away as much (if not more) of its antiheroes sleazy postcolonial errand as it does the poverty they seek. Who is clutching whom? While the filmmakers are obviously the supposed vampires, the film is also explicit in the way their exposure to an impoverished zone gets their minds going about the potential windfall for their own careers (aided, inevitably, by a few lines of blow back at the hotel.)

Location

SPECTACLE THEATER (View)
124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
United States


Categories

None

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No

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