Director: Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
Venezuela | 2020 | 99 min
Best International Documentary – Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Congo Mirador, a hamlet of sparse palafittes on the shore of Lake Maracaibo, is home to a small community of fishermen. The inhabitants lead precarious lives that include, nonetheless, moments of joy, music and solidarity, as we see children learn in school, an old man playing the guitar and the community gathering for a beauty pageant. However, people face a difficult future due to the lack of opportunities. Their livelihood is threatened by adverse ecological conditions.
The town is also torn apart by political divisions. The documentary is a commentary on the lasting hold of Hugo Chávez among Venezuelans, even after his death, and on Nicolás Maduro’s regime, which is creeping towards dictatorship. The differences come to a head during parliamentary elections, where the local candidate of the opposition party manages to win, despite the efforts of the Chavista community leader to bribe her way to victory.
Once Upon A Time in Venezuela is an intimate portrait of a town, and a country, in a time of political and economic crises.
Get access to an exclusive Q&A with your ticket:
Host Dan Russek (UVic) talks with director Anabel Rodríguez Ríos