The inspirational story of La ciénaga entre el mar y la tierra shows us the big possibilities which exist in Colombian cinema to tell new stories that get closer to the reality of many Colombians in a way that is more direct and intimate.
Alberto was born close to the sea but he can’t see it. He is bedridden and barely able to move, so he dreams about the sea and paints it, trying to imagine the outside world. La ciénaga entre el mar y la tierra is a powerful story about love, patience, resignation and a beautiful portrait of the love between mother and son.
Vicky Hernández, playing Alberto’s mother Rosa, shows why she is considered one of the best actresses in Colombia and why she won the Special Jury Prize in Sundance for this role. The film also has an outstanding cinematography by Robespierre Rodríguez.
Alberto was born in the fishing village of Ciénaga, Magdalena, where the sea is the playground. However, suffering from dystonia, a neurological disorder which prevents him from moving and forces him to remain connected to an artificial respirator, the sea is more of an illusion for him.
Rosa is a strong and dedicated woman who works hard to help her son in the midst of poverty and the lack of medical attention. Giselle is a lovely young woman who grew up with Alberto. They love each other, showing that even if people can’t move, emotions and heart go at their own rhythm.
The movie was filmed in Magdalena between September and October of 2014. This inspirational story shows us the big possibilities we have in Colombian cinema to tell new stories that get closer to the reality of many Colombians in a way that is more direct and intimate.
Despite the powerful nature of this film, there is also a legal battle taking place for the rights to the film direction. According to press related to the film, it was written and directed by Manolo Cruz, who at the same time acted as Alberto. However Carlos del Castillo who is also producer of the movie has declared that he was the director of the film and not Cruz.
Those close to La ciénaga entre el mar y la tierra have refused to comment, including Vicky Hernández, and some believe it should not have been released without this issue being resolved.
These kinds of issues become a stain on the work that has been done for decades in hopes of building an national film industry, because it is supposed to foster collaborative work, transparency and support for new talents.
By Carolina Morales