Infinite Flight of Days
I admit that the drug trade is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Colombia. This is an injustice which the mesmerizing documentary The Infinite Flight of Days does something to remedy, as it presents a very different view of the country.
The focus is Jericó, a small town in the Andes, full of colourful houses, bustling shops and cafes, surrounded by lush vegetation and home to the dozen or so women who are our glimpse into this one place and its culture.
Filmmaker Catalina Mesa has forged a sometimes unbearable intimacy with these women, mostly of advanced age, who look back on the challenges of their lives. Those include love, religion, class, education and work.
The first character is Chila who collects rosaries and tells the story of meeting her husband and their happy marriage. She runs a clothing shop and walks the streets with her cane, obviously known and cherished by all. We meet a retired teacher who has recently been honoured by the historical society. We are also introduced to a number of women who never married and hear the reasons why. One women discovered an intense love of travel and is now over one hundred.
External troubles do penetrate this very personal history. One mother describes the continuing grief at losing a young son to guerrilla kidnapping. He has never been found. The film also demonstrates the centrality of thoughts of God and the rituals of church and petitioning the saints.
What a fascinating assortment of women in this film! These are exactly the sort of "ordinary" lives which contain essential stories for us all. This is a generation where it was still common for a woman to be fairly uneducated, even if she was bright and wanted to continue. These ladies had to be satisfied with creating better opportunities for their own daughters. Some women took great risked and surprised their families. And that a love match might go thwarted due to the shade of a woman's skin is a tale which still probably resonates.
Plays October 4th at 8:15 Vancity Theatre and 6th at 10:30 Vancity Theatre.