'Cocalero' and the Journey of Evo Morales

After its successful showings at Viña Del Mar’s International Film Festival and Santiago’s International Film Festival (SANFIC) in 2007, Cocalero is returning once more to the big screen at Santiago's Cine Arte Alameda.

Santiago Chile Cocalero

Filmed during the 60-day run up to Bolivia's 2005 presidential elections, the starkly real documentary follows the campaign of indigenous Evo Morales, an unlikely candidate from the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, as he finds his political strength by battling the United States' War on Drugs. As the film bears witness to the emerging movement that promoted the legalization of the coca leaf, which contains the basic ingredient for cocaine, Cocalero exposes Morales' relationship with the 3.6 million indigenous cocaleros (coca leaf farmers) dependent on Bolivia's coca farming industry.
Santiago Chile Cocalero

With no set narrative, Brazilian director Alejandro Londes maintains a beautifully unbiased 94-minute documentary that tracks Morales' every move with a hand held camera. Whether they exhibit him making speeches in his trendy blue tracksuit and sparkling white Nikes, swimming in his underwear in a river of the lush El Chapare jungle, or simply talking about his next moves while getting a haircut, these honest shots allow the audience to transcend Morales' political figure and see him as a person.

Protagonist Leonilda Zurita, head of the women’s coca growers union and Morales’ confidante, guides the audience into the world of the cocaleros with witness interviews and close-ups of the farmers working. We come to understand Bolivia's economic roots in coca production and witness the US drug policy’s impact on Bolivia’s economy.

Santiago Chile Cocalero

Cocalero is packed with strikingly diverse scenery shots of Bolivia, where ripped roads amidst the raw, dense green jungle highlight the country’s wild beauty. Diverse (even fractured) like the people, this scenery becomes an important symbol in the film to reflect Bolivia’s reality. Subtle iconographic messages, like indigenous rainbow flags (wipalas), Cuban flags and faded images of Che Guevara, also reveal the intricacies of Latin America's political state at the time.

Sporadic MAS propaganda songs are heard in the soundtrack amidst a powerful score that mixes different instruments and rhythms inspired by Cocalero’s characters and contradictions. Consequently, a universal and extremely positive tone emerges from the sounds of Mexico, the flamenco, the Irish whistle, the Argentine bombo drum and hints of minimalism.

Cocalero is featured in Spanish and the Aymaran and Quechan indigenous languages, with Spanish subtitles.

Cocalero

Centro Arte Alameda

Alameda 139

Phone: 263 2967

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