Nicaraguan film deals with crime, poverty

Film 'humanizes suffering'

"If this movie was made in color, all of you would want to vomit," said Nicaraguan film director Pierre Pierson, referring to the miserable conditions the characters in his short film, "Metal and Glass," live in. The film was shown at the Weschler Theatre in the Mary Graydon Center on Friday night.

Pierson got the opportunity to show his short film as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. The Office of International Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Literature and the School Of Communication co-sponsored the event.

The 20-minute movie tells the story of a young boy, played by Giovanni Padilla, who forages in a garbage dump for bottles so that he can sell them. The movie deals with issues and ideas ranging from poverty, crime and war, to lost childhoods and childhood fantasies.

A discussion with Pierson and Humberto Arcia, the film's producer, followed the movie.

Pierson and Arcia talked about the complications of filmmaking in Nicaragua and their need to tell the stories of Nicaragua's downtrodden.

A lack of funding led Pierson and Arcia to wear many hats during the film's production. Pierson was director, scriptwriter, art director and one of the composers.

Arcia, aside from being producer, was also the cinematographer and editor.

"In Nicaragua, filmmakers do everything. If we have to sweep the floor, we sweep. If we have to drive people around, we drive," Arcia said in Spanish while literature professor Jeffrey Middents, the event's moderator, translated.

Both Arcia and Pierson said that while they loved filmmaking, the real purpose of their films was to reveal more about modern-day Nicaragua.

"Our reality is raw and brutal, and it is our job to communicate that," Arcia said. Pierson said that if he could help audiences think of something that they hadn't thought of before, he did his job.

Pierson also said that he hoped that this movie would humanize poverty and suffering. "The boy in the film is not just another number, not another poor person."

"Metal and Glass" is one of the films that will be shown at the Latin American Film Festival at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Md., and at the AFI at the Kennedy Center. The festival began Sept. 22 and ends Oct. 3.

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