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International Competition 2017
When the Bull Cried Karen Vázquez Guadarrama, Bart Goossens

A visually stunning excursion into the Bolivian Andes where miners are hoping for the big find. Perilous working conditions, archaic rituals and big dreams cheek by jowl.

When the Bull Cried

Documentary Film
66 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Tomas Leyers
Karen Vázquez Guadarrama, Bart Goossens
Bram Bosteels
Karen Vázquez Guadarrama
Tom Denoyette
Karen Vázquez Guadarrama, Bart Goossens
Bart Goossens
Giant fourthousanders rise majestically to the skies in the Bolivian Andes. Grey-blue craggy steep faces and white mountain clouds flow into each other. Mining is the sole industry here. People climb down into the stony bowels of the mountains and risk their lives to mine silver and other minerals. The freezing cold, dark mineshafts regularly collapse and bury the workers, many of them still children, alive. They say that the souls of those who die in the shaft must wander for three days, all the time pursued by “el tío”, the evil mountain god. They fight their fear with alcohol and coca; superstitions abound. The men especially live in a loop of work, alcohol and aggression, hoping every day for the big find and trying to propitiate the spirits with sacrifices. Archaic rituals are meant to appease Mother Earth, but a look into the people’s exhausted faces makes one suspect that their faith is shaken with every death.

A visually stunning film that manages to transport the viewer into the breathtaking Andean landscape without turning into a geography lesson. Haunting, alarming and moving – great cinema above the clouds.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann

Nominated for Healthy Workplaces Film Award