Chronicle of the Stolen Land
Chronique de la terre volée
- Marie Dault
- 92 min
- Colour and B&W
- Laurent Alary (Tell Me Films), Eric Jarno (Pays des Miroirs)
In Caracas, slum dwellers can acquire land in exchange for the story of their life in the neighbourhood. A decree issued by Chavez triggered the writing of the “Cartas del barrio”, which reveal the history of a whole swathe of the capital.
On a hill in a Caracas suburb, two years after Nicolas Maduro succeeded Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela, the inhabitants of a « barrio » (a poor neighbourhood in the capital) have to organise themselves to acquire the land on which they have settled. It belongs to a private company but the current government, applying one of Chavez’ laws, is redistributing the land. The situation is urgent, the Venezuelan crisis is pressing, and the land must be acquired before the government topples. The residents have to prepare a dossier and tell the neighbourhood’s history. And so the letters of the « barrio » are written – they recount the origins, the values, the living conditions of the district’s men and women. Together they apply the great ideas of the Bolivarian revolution, Chavez’ legacy, for which they gave their very best, and practice self-management and participatory democracy. But with departures to neighbouring countries in search of riches and the lack of basic resources that is draining the community, below, the echoes of a growing crisis are heard and giving rise to more individual behaviours. On the other side of the struggle, the path is a lonely one and the battle is in the hands of two women who are wrestling with the paperwork and confronting alone the bureaucracy and urgency on behalf of the collective. The film then takes the direction of a splendid portrait of struggle, constantly bearing witness to the legacy and collective strength of a revolutionary hill.
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After literature and film studies, Marie collaborated in the 2000s on various theatre productions in which she integrated video into the set design. In 2005, she trained at the Ateliers Varan, then in 2007 made a documentary in the streets of Caracas, with street peddlers specialised in selling Laws and the Constitution. In parallel to her filmmaking, she contributes to writing creative documentary projects. Chronique de la terre volée, also filmed in Venezuela, is her second feature-length documentary.