High on hope

Published: Saturday 15 October 2005

Pamashto Una Mirada Iterior directed by Marco Luna produced by UNESCO 55 minutes

Sometime in the early 1980s, Romario Reatagui of the Pamashto community in Peru established a rudimentary sugar mill in the jungles of the country's San Martin province. The entire Reatagui family pitched in. As time went by, son Walter proved the most industrious in running the family enterprise. According to father Romario, he was never quite interested in education; the sugar mill was his sole preoccupation.

Walter is a character in the film under review. But he doesn't appear on screen. For, when Pamashto una mirada iterior was shot, Walter had left his family and gone to live in the Peruvian capital, Lima. By this time, Romario Reatagui's dream for the sugar mill has also turned a little sour. Though Reatagui and his wife soldier on gamely, their children have no interest in village life. Son Fernando is a nurse, daughter Cicalda aspires to be a teacher, younger daughter Anita is a wannabe public figure and the youngest one, Helena, also has ambitions outside the village.

But Pamashto una mirada is not a story of a dream gone sour. It's about the meaning -- and the ironies -- of liberal education for members of a jungle community. And the film has been completely shot from the perspective of the different members of the Reatagui family. They appear on screen and hold forth on their aspirations. Father Romario was always keen on a good education for his children. He has little remorse that it has made his children a little distant from village life -- he is sometimes a little wistful though. The children miss their home sometimes, but the joys and opportunities of city life more than make up for it. The sugar mill is almost forgotten. But one person who hasn't been forgotten is Walter. The family hopes that some day he will return. The film is dedicated to him.

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