21 July 2013 | gradyharp
LA SIRGA ('The Towrope') is a stunningly beautiful little film from the mind and pen and direction of William Vega, a California-born graduate in social communications from the University del Valle in Colombia, who mastered in film and TV scripting at the TAI College of Arts and Entertainment in Madrid. Vega has subsequently served as a university teacher, director, screenwriter and assistant director for film, video and TV projects. In 2010, he was assistant to Oscar Ruiz Navia on the latter's Berlin award-winner Crab Trap. Though he has created several short films - Amnesia (2001), Sunrise (2003), Tricolor Soccer Club (2005), Juan Mochilas (2011) and Simiente 2012 from which he developed La Sirga), LA SIRGA is his first feature film and it is a dazzling success. Vega has said, 'Writing La Sirga originated from my being seduced by the thought of a peripheral geographic location unknown to Colombians and the world. The manifestation of wonderment from the people of that area goes way beyond the space itself. Farmers with an Indian legacy are today ideologically insistent to maintain their traditions, for a clean and transparent relationship with the land and their brothers, so that it may extend throughout time and beyond space. Families and neighbors construct admirable lives in the midst of a country suffering conflict, hunger, inequality and war. This is a community with a proposal to transform thinking and relationships, which other brothers are unaware of, brothers who hurt and bleed the earth dry. Years ago I was working on a TV documentary series. I traveled through remote areas of Colombia, territories where socio-political problems and armed conflict have arisen for many years. In one of these places I found whole communities trying to rebuild their lives, making their existence around a beautiful lake. That was La Cocha, a sacred and inspiring site, full of symbols that dictated a story mixing real and imagined events. That was what shaped this fiction called La Sirga.'
From the opening views of the land and water of the high Andes it is clear that the political unrest that is driving the wandering girl is embodied in wind and water: those natural elements continue to play a central role throughout the film. LA SIRGA a mood piece - magical richly if vaguely evocative. A teenage Colombian refugee, Alicia (Joghis Seudin Arias) is a vulnerable 19-year-old woman who sleepwalks and tries to rebuild her life at an Inn located on the shores of a great lake in the Andes - La Cocha. She is running from the burning of her house and killing of her parents by unspecified hostile forces. Alicia spends her days working with Flora (Floralba Achicanoy) refurbishing the weather damaged inn to make it ready for tourists who never appear, with her uncle Oscar (Julio César Roble) and his son Fredy (Heraldo Romero). No one is very friendly and everything is tenuous but perhaps her greatest ally is Mirichis (the very handsome and gifted David Fernando Guacas), a young man who does errands on a boat and wants to go away with her. All is uncertainty ("I don't know" is the main answer to questions). It's all about metaphor, the dilapidated inn representing Colombia itself. But the place itself, the vast quiet lake and swampy borders and big plants, is also all very real, and conceals the secrets of the underlying strife that is ever present in the way this story unfolds. Watch the opening moments carefully: they hold many answers to the questions the film explores.
LA SIRGA is unquestionably one of the finest art films of the year and William Vega is obviously destined for an important future in the development of cinematic art. And the cinematography by Sofia Oggioni is breathtaking. Bravo to Film Movement for discovering and presenting a true little masterpiece. Highly Recommended.