Dir.: Ezequiel Yanco; Cast: Isaias Barroso, Pablo Chernov, El Apoyo De, Uriel Alcaraz, Yuliana Alcaraz; Argentina, France 2019, 70 min.
This lyrical rather eclectic coming-of-age documentary is set in the remote indigenous settlement of Pueblo Nacion Ranquel in Northern Argentina, where animals and the past play a central role. A puma is stalking the community and a group of young boys start tracking the animal, as part traditional rite of passage. La Vida En Comun is imbued with an atmosphere of transition, as if the whole colony is waiting and watching for something to happen. And Yanco captures this transitory nature of this temporary set-up with its Avantgarde houses that seem to be part of another world. Infact, Pueblo Raquel is decisively otherworldly – the buildings are from the future, but the teenagers live in the ancient world, where animals and humans lived side by side.
Apart from a few teachers, there is an absence of adults and so the unobserved teens are left to their own devices. The action is narrated by one of the girls who relates how, in an act of bravado to impress a girl, one of the youngest boys Isaias (Barroso) defied the older ones by hunting down the mighty puma, and maybe even killing him. Well, that’s what we’re led to believe.
Everything seems opaque, ephemeral, ready to disappear at any second. These are the reflected emotions of a land where expropriation was (and is) rife; where the natives who once owned this country are pushed back into a reservation where they are marginalised by the interlopers. The lyrical tone often betrays this savage past, but it is always there, hovering over the living souls.
Yanco creates his own world where teenagers hunt animals and look for an identity that remains elusive. La Vida en Comun is like a huge question mark: is it a mirage, or reality? The only thing that is certain is mighty puma. We can only watch in wonderment, looking at a unique world in-between. AS
VISIONS DU REEL | 5 -13 APRIL 2019