Colombia is now closer than it’s ever been to reaching a sustainable peace agreement after nearly 50 years of uninterrupted conflict. Naturally this is good news for the two sides that have been battling it out over the past five decades, but even better news for the innocent families that have found themselves continuously caught up in the country’s unending cycle of violence. But what of the comfortable urban upper classes? How have they experienced a conflict that, aside from a clip on the nightly noticiero or a headline in El Tiempo, has never truly altered the rituals of their daily lives?
With his animated feature Desterrada, first-time director Diego Guerra has reimagined contemporary Colombian society to show us a hypothetical world where internal strife has consumed every aspect of daily life, where even the privileged classes find themselves recruited into the military and a large parts of the once tranquil capital have been destroyed by violence.
Following the story of Ana, the daughter of a leftist university professor whose world quickly begins to collapse around her, Desterrada has a retro look that seems to hark back to 90s-era MTV animation á la Aeon Flux, but with the stiff, stuttered movements of an old-school first person shooter video game (remember Doom, folks?).
While we can realistically hope that Guerra’s vision of a near-future Colombia is less and less likely, we’ve got to give him props for the originality of his vision and the unique style he’s adopted to bring it to the screen. He certainly will be a director to look out for.