Imba Means Sing and Dan Eldon Reaction

When I first was watching Imba Mean Sing I found myself having a very joyful experience. Considering that I’ve been feeling down lately, it means that the documentary was very successful at transmitting the children’s feeling as they discovered a new world and explored their own potential. However, regarding the content, I was constantly thinking about the contrast in life-styles that the children would experience once they went home. These children were taken out of a low socio-economic environment and taken to a totally different one, then expected to have a vacation in the former. This displacement of conditions can have big effects on a child. Moises was told he was American once he got back home, but then Nina was happier to be back than at Disneyland. It’s a very complex situation but it seems like the organization has had success in education many African children in the past, so it is hard to judge the overall effect of the initiative. Is it more worth it to break a nuclear family for the sake of a future hope of breaking the poverty gap? I am not sure, it is a subjective experience depending on each child and family, and whether they do actually succeed through the pressures of school.

Speaking about something else, I found (and I’m sure that was the point) Dan Eldon’s story absolutely inspiring. More than that, I felt understood. I have experienced a long frustration with not finding a way to channel my observation of social issues and not finding a community who would support film/photography as a medium for social activism. Yet, now I know that there’s a whole world out there where people find that music, dance, and visual art are powerful tools to open people’s minds and hearts, and push for change.

Immigration Crisis in a World I Don’t Know

My whole life I have been trying to understand the immigration crisis from Latin America to The United States. The origin, the end, and the journey. It was only in the last couple of years that I found out about the equally and, perhaps, more urgent crisis somewhere else in the world. A year ago, I watched a documentary about the ways in which African immigrants cross to Spanish soil and I was particularly amazed at those who decided to hide in cars in the risk of dying in the heat that was produced – somehow, probably due to the images from Syrian refugees, immigrants in overcrowded boats didn’t seem as disastrous. However, in comparison to my American-focused mindset, I had embarrassingly never considered the hearts and the thoughts of those people during the journey in Africa, nor had I given a thought to how the diversity in culture and language influence even the immigration culture that is found in that world I never knew existed.

In this post, I would like to focus on the sense of community that the immigrants have formed and how the article has led me to understand some more about immigration on our side of Earth:

“Each “brotherhood,” as they call them, is formed along lines of nationality — the Senegalese in one camp, the Malians, the Cote D’Ivoirians, the Nigerians, and the Congolese in others.”

In comparison to Latin Americans, African countries might not or barely share the same language. What does this mean? First that transitioning from country to country and being able to survive in them is probably one of the biggest challenges that immigrants fight during the journey to Morocco. Imagine, in the loneliness that these immigrants find themselves in, it is optimized by the lack of culture and language (the two elements that makes us the humans we are even at 12 years old). Therefore, it is expected that after reaching Morocco, the brotherhoods are brought together by their nationality. In a way, I am glad that it happens to be that way but, at the same time, it hurts to know that the divisions show that many countries are suffering push factors towards completely different societies.

In terms of American immigration, I remember finding out in the Stewart Detention Center (2h away from Atlanta) that they had detained African immigrants. I was told by an NGO that they come down in boats to Panama and then they would take the same journey as various Latinx individuals towards the US. So this article makes me wonder: are these people who might know about how hard it is to get into Spanish territory and, therefore, decide that it is ‘better’ to take the journey towards an almost equally impossible border? Is all of this the reason why they’d be willing to get further away from their cultures?

I am not sure but it could be a possibility. It would be something to find out through the stories of the African Immigrants in the US.

Luis Buñel – Land without Bread (1932)

Luis Buñel was a Spanish, surrealist filmmaker who worked in France, Spain, Mexico and America from the 1920s up to the 1970s. Earlier in his career, he was one out of many who was influenced by Sigmund Freud – where dreams show the subconscious, which give an insight into human life and behavior. Artists would explore the subconscious to reach absolute beauty beyond reality. He was also part of the young Spanish vanguard group, Generation 27, where the defined style was to focus on great and heavy human issues like love, destiny, and death among others topics. Buñel particularly explored eroticism, cruelty, and religion.

During the 1920s, when Buñel was in France, ethnography was emerging in the country. As the arts wrote about society, a term ‘ethnographic surrealism’ which attacks the familiar and creates a spectacle about the unknown. Yet, after hearing about the Spanish political environment, he hurried back to Spain in 1930 to produce a film ‘Land without Bread’ (1932) with the help of an anarchist group´s funding.

The context in Spain in the early 20th is extremely important to his documentary work called ‘Land without Bread’ (1932). Spain was one of the last countries in Europe to become industrialized so a large portion of its population was of the peasant class. The documentary features the latter, visually. Yet, in terms of the script for the American voice over (which was purposely done), it was written by the director and a surrealist poet and communist leftist called Pierre Unik. So, the documentary was seen both as a study of human geography but a parody of documentary filmmaking as it spoke about more than just the people of ‘Las Hurdes’ – a town close to the Portuguese border. Metaphorically, it sought to attack the Spanish government, the religious institution (no bread equaling no God), the educational system, and private property. In this film in particular, Buñel did this mix between objective and subjective meaning through the use of the voice over, and mixing objective images (several goats were slaughtered, for example) and use of grotesque imageries (a mule eaten by bees).