Almost every inhabitant of Fondo Negro has relatives abroad. Since the 1980s, job migration, meaning wages shared with the residents from afar, has been one of the most important sources of income in this region in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. Young women in particular go to Europe or the U.S. to support their families by unskilled labour. In her enchantingly beautiful film, director Anna-Sophia Richard shows how this affects the ones who stay behind.
When she set out on the journey to Europe, she didn’t know what to expect, says one of the seven people portrayed. It was as if she was going on a holiday: a holiday that’s now lasted more than thirty years. Others haven’t seen their families in over fifteen years, their only contact being by phone or video chat. The mayor of Fondo Negro, herself the first job migrant from the region, tries to keep the women in the village. But the pull of jobs elsewhere is powerful. What’s left are separated families, children who grow up without parents and couples who become estranged. Almost in passing, the director shows in colourful, dreamy images how provisional solutions manifest themselves and permanently shape the reality of people’s lives. Happiness is only an eight-hour flight away – and still unattainable.