Representations of the armed conflict in Colombian cinema
Abstract: Cinema is an act of representation and it is based on the construction of reality inspired by experience. In Colombia, cinema has not been the product of a structured industry, but rather the effort of some filmmakers who have found different ways of telling stories about topics that are part of the national experience. The armed conflict in Colombia, understood as the confrontation between government forces and organized outlawed groups, has prevailed for more than fifty years and has been present in art forms ever since. This research examines a sample of Colombian films to establish the different ways the subject of the armed conflict has been represented in Colombian cinema.
Keywords: Cinematography; Colombian cinema; armed conflict; representation; characters; actions; scenarios.
Summary: 1. Introduction. 1.1. Situation of Colombian cinema. 1.2. Theoretical possibilities. 2. Methodology. 3. Results. 3.1. Films dealing with the armed conflict. 3.2. Recurrent themes and genres. 3.3. Relationship between films and historical periods. 3.4. A long-lasting conflict. 3.5. Spatiotemporal representation. 3.6. The actors of the conflict as characters. 4. Conclusions. 5. References. 5.1. Bibliography. 5.2. Analysed films. 5.3. Interviews. 6. Notes.
Translation by Cruz Alberto Martínez-Arcos (University of London)
Between 2007 and 2009, the Research Department at the University of La Sabana funded the project “Narratives of the armed conflict in Colombian cinema”, initiated by Professor Sandra Ruiz-Moreno and culminated in a second stage by Professor Jerónimo Rivera-Betancur. This project aimed to discover how Colombia cinema has addressed the subject of the armed conflict from the perspective of fiction, based on the analysis of feature films which were produced between 1964 and 2003 and dealt with the armed conflict.
It is important to remark that the investigation does not constitute a social or political view on the armed conflict, but only a view on its representation on cinema.
1.1 Situation of Colombian cinema
The development of Colombian cinema has been irregular and complicated. Since its inception, few years after the invention of the motion picture projector, cinema was considered an entertainment medium or in the best of cases, a lower art form based on eccentric characters that were willing to do everything to produce “their movies”.
Since the cinema law (Ley 814) came into force in Colombia in 2003, the industry experienced a significant reactivation. The increase in the quality of the film productions can be seen in the following table which shows the number of films produced in Colombia per decade.
It is important to note, first of all, that the film production in Colombia in the last three decades amounts 210 movies from a total of 326, which constitutes 64.4% of the total film production throughout history, while the production of the last decade alone (until 2009) accounts for 24.2% of the total production.
Although many Colombian spectators believe they are facing the advent of the national cinema, the reality is that we are just witnessing the birth of a film industry, which brings with it a greater amount of feature films of varying quality. This step is very important because it encourages the public to trust the national film industry and to attend the cinema with an intention that is different from the paternalistic intention of “supporting the national cinema”. In recent years, the major national cinema theatres have maintained Colombian movies in their listings even for more than 4 weeks, which is a signal of the growing interest towards the national cinema.
Nonetheless, the government’s support to the film industry is not enough from the economic point of view and neither from a thematic perspective because it finances films in a competition-basis that privileges certain themes or treatments that “ensure” a greater level of audience. In this regard, the critic and scholar of national cinema Luis Alberto Álvarez commented that “the state communications policy, which must include cinema, should not only be concerned about which films must be promoted because they are suitable, appropriate and useful for Colombians, but should also try to figure out what type of cinema Colombians are able to view, in their current state of consciousness” (Alvarez: 2001).
This index of production, speaking in terms of industry, still remains quite insignificant when compared to Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. The box-office sales are also completely insufficient because, for instance, Colombia’s most watched movies ever barely reach a little more than a million viewers and since 1996 (the year this industry took-off) only 19 films reached the small sum of 200 thousand spectators. It is important to note that in 2006, the most successful year in Colombian cinema so far reported box office sales for the national cinema of 2,807,000 spectators of a total of more than 20 million viewers, accounting for only 13.88% . In the same period there are dramatic cases, like in 1997 and 1999 when the tickets sales for the national film industry did not reach 1% of the total audience; a situation that nonetheless had been the constant before 1990, although there are not much data about it.
In this regard it is pertinent to once again pay attention to Álvarez who says that “The efforts to establish a Colombian national cinematography have never stopped since the 1920s. These efforts have been polarized almost always towards the creation of an industry, but only occasionally have they sought to apply reflections on an identity or expressions of an aesthetic position”. (2005).
1.2. Theoretical possibilities
Regarding the possibilities for studying film, we could go back to the book of Robert Allen and Douglas Gomery “Teoría y práctica de la historia del cine” (Theory and practice of cinema history), where they establish three specific approaches: 1) the theoretical approach, which tries to define film under different perspectives and to establish how it produces meaning; 2) the historical approach, which attempts to explain the changes suffered by cinema and what has influenced its environment in order to understand its present; and 3) the critical approach, which analyses cinema’s specific qualities as visual experience (Allen-Gomery, 2001).
Within the theoretical approach it is especially interesting to include the study of film as a language that has the potential to produce meanings and representations of reality, but not in the sense of a copy, which is representing the same object that is observed with its univocal characteristics, but reality as a representation that emerges from its resemblance to the real world and its physical principles, where both are in continuous movement, and the dimensions of space and time and always in present time.
This dramatization of reality is sometimes so vivid that is often confused with reality itself, and instead of being a window or a mirror, it becomes a mirage, an illusion, or a deception to the gaze. Cinema’s simulation represents a reality from an ideological point of view, with biases clearly marked by conditions of authorship or nationality. According to Cabrera: “Cinema is the plenitude of the lived experience, including the temporality and movements that are typical of the real thing, and it presents the real with all its difficulties, instead of giving the ingredients so that viewers themselves can use them to create the image that film provides” (2002: 25).
The importance of addressing these issues in Colombian cinema, in spite of the disenchantment of a large sector of the public and critics who are concerned about “the image” of the country abroad, has to do with the possibility of looking ourselves in the mirror to better understand our situation. This idea is reaffirmed by Colombian filmmaker Lisandro Duque when he says that “to deprive a country from cinema is like ordering by Decree the withdrawal of mirrors from all bathrooms and streets so that nobody can see their own reflection. And this generates violence. The “I think therefore I exist” becomes the “I don’t see myself, then I am nobody” (Duque: 97).
Taking into account these possibilities of expression and representation of cinema, it is important for the development of cinema in our country to undertake studies of this kind, to determine those visions through which our films have narrated and reflected the experiences lived by our Colombian society. This motivation was behind the research project “Narratives of the Armed Conflict in the Colombian Cinema” , which aimed to explore how Colombian cinema has expressed one of the most decisive and painful realities of the country.
Studying the image as a mode of representation of reality will enable us to get closer to the construction of cultural imaginaries about Colombians that are suggested by cinema and that can, possibly, act as an inverted mirror, which affects reality through the simulation of images. This mirror can show us an image that perhaps we as a nation do not like, but that certainly could help us to better understand our condition as national beings. Álvarez (1998) firmly affirms that “A cinema that adequately represents this country cannot be a conciliatory formula, or a transverse cut without the taste of the national realities. It is absolutely necessary that this cinema is composed of cultural expressions that are highly differentiated, very strong, uncompromising in their untranslatability and yet, noticeable on a deeper level of perception, the perception of a universal art”.
Considering the expressive features of cinema we saw the need to start this study by examining the possibilities of cinema as a language. Thus we began performing a narrative analysis of each film that was produced in our country and that dealt with the current armed conflict, in order to answer questions such as: In what ways has Colombian cinema dealt with the different elements of the armed conflict? What characteristics are given priority? What issues are repeatedly addressed? How does cinema depict the spaces, actions and the various actors of the conflict?
To start this narrative study it was essential to establish some constraints, in terms of themes, time and format, to start the collection and selection of the sample. Thus, the theme was limited to the conflict, understood as the current armed phenomenon among guerrillas, paramilitaries, army, and State, whose origin goes back to the appearance of the current guerrilla groups in 1964, taking as a point of departure the occupation of the Marquetalia.
On the other hand, the study focused on feature films (which is the cinema format with greater possibilities of exhibition and impact) produced by Colombians , from 1964 until 2006, the year in which the research started. These films had to address the conflict and no other phenomena of violence and confrontation (as mentioned in the thematic delimitation), although we acknowledge the connections of the current conflict with the history of violence in the country.
The study of audiovisual narratives, which mark the line for the theoretical basis and methodology of the research, is based on a structuralist view of communications and therefore of the audiovisual language, and it aims to reveal the system of relations between the armed conflict and the expressive or communicative forms of cinema.
We took into account the development of studies on linguistic structures from the formalist school, which were made before the term “audiovisual narrative” was used and before cinema’s moving image was studied.
The interesting element of this older approach is its focus on the gap existing between the fable “as an imaginary construct that the viewer or reader creates or abstracts” (Stam, Burgoyne and Lewis, 1992: 93) and the syuzhets as “the artistic organization or the deformation of the causal-chronologic order of events” (Stam, Burgoyne and Lewis, 1992: 95), which marks the importance of the existence of an intentional way to freely organize ideas or stories in the language of the moving images.
This difference is subsequently expanded with the linguistics and semantics Claude Lèvi-Strauss and the syntactical approach of Vladimir Propp. Levi-Strauss argued that movies have a superficial structure that hides a deep structure, which should be studied from the myth to establish contrary signifying categories. Therefore his work aims to break the plot’s linear relations of cause and effect to establish new paradigmatic groups, by studying, for example, the symbolisms of the genres and films. (Stam, Burgoyne and Lewis, 1992: 99)
Propp, on the other hand, affirms that the significant function of the cinematographic elements depends precisely on the place they occupy in time (concept of time construction through editing), and therefore when one “forcedly takes the functions out of the temporary sequence one destroys the delicate thread of the narrative, which as a subtle and elegant network that breaks down at the lightest touch” (Propp, 1976: 287).
This is how Bordwell dissociated himself from the oral processes of literature by privileging the narrator, the chain of information displayed as evidence in cinema, starting from the definition of the narrative as a chain of events in a cause and effect relationship that happens in time and space.
Thus, it firstly bases the narrative in the principle of causality (cause-effect) that determines a constant movement defined as a series of changes or transformations. This principle undoubtedly draws our attention to the nature of cinema (addressed in the introduction) that enables its features of representation of reality and abstract experiences.
Third, it manages to see the interrelation between the concepts of history and argument. “The argument presents explicitly certain events of history, so they are common to both domains. History goes beyond arguments at the moment of suggesting some diegetic events  that we never witnessed. The argument goes beyond the world of history by presenting non-diegetic images and sounds that can affect our understanding of history” (Bordwell and Thompson, 1997: 63).
And finally, this theoretical structure takes into account the activity of the viewer, by including a section on the flow of information within the story, i.e. the way the information is presented to the spectator.
3.1. Films dealing with the armed conflict
The development of the research started with a first phase of rigorous observation of films produced in the delimited period (1964-2006), through literature review of direct documents and interviews with filmmakers and cinema scholars, which resulted in the determination of the sample of 14 Colombian feature films, fictional and documentary, which addressed in some way the internal armed conflict of the country:
The selection of the sample involved a search with interesting results in relation to the topics that our cinematography has been representing. These 14 films represent a small 6.2% of the national film production, which is surprising considering, on the one hand, that the conflict is part of the national daily agenda and, on the other hand, that large number of references to themes of violence in our cinema.
Therefore, as part of this first phase, it was decided to determine what were those other issues addressed in cinema and the percentage they constituted, and also to establish a relationship between themes, historical realities, cinematographic developments, and periods of time between the films included in the sample.
3.2. Recurrent themes and genres
In terms of themes, we found that the two strongest thematic genres within the domestic production and that also remained more or less constant between 1964 and 2006 were action and adventure stories with 24.6% and comedies (sketch of local costumes, both rural and urban) with 18.3%, followed in third place by films about love and romantic relationships with 16.5%.
These three categories cover nearly half of the Colombian film production, without including any topic of drug trafficking, violence or any conflict related to our historical reality.
This is important when comparing the analysis of causality and the flow of information in the sample, since half of them present references to the violence of these decades and all of them emphasise violence per se because it is the most characteristic feature of the conflict, which suggests, on the one hand, that the cinematic imagery built about violence in general is much more robust and decisive than the conflict as such and, on the other hand, that all violent acts, including those that may be portrayed in films with other themes, are generalized without having certainty of their causes and developments.
Regarding the subject of drug trafficking, it appeared in only 6.7%, but it is highly concentrated from the 1980s onwards when Drogombia (Diego León Giraldo 1980) and Área Maldita (Damn Area) (Jairo Pinilla, 1980) were produced, and then in the 1990s, when virtually all the other films were produced. This concentration may largely explain why people insist in the large number of national films about drug trafficking in spite of the low percentage.
The other percentages refer to documentaries of ethnographic and touristic character, with 8%, and movies about sex, with 5.3%.
Based on the previous, we can confirm, like the study undertaken in 2005 by the research body Imago of the University of Medellin, that the main themes of our cinema are not violence and drug trafficking. But at the same time it is important to add that while curiously the everyday themes, and the adventure, police, horror, and love stories (copying the Hollywood style a little bit) have been the mostly addressed themes, we cannot ignore the fact that the themes of violence, conflict and drug trafficking correspond to more than a quarter of the different topics presented in movies that are concentrated in time and generalise the abovementioned violent actions.
3.3. Relationship between the films and historical periods
At this point in the investigation it is also interesting to verify the historical moments of production of films, especially in terms of the reality of national cinema, taking into account the great distances of time between films; but also taking into account that the research does not seek to establish a verification between the reality of the historical moment in which the film was produced or exhibited and its themes or treatments.
Among the first three movies there is a period of 16 years. Río de Tumbas is from 1965, Camilo, el cura guerrillero from 1974 and Canaguaro from 1981. Both Río de Tumbas and Camilo, el cura guerrillero show elements of the conflict, but thematically do not present it: the first film stereotypically describes a town involved in the conflict without mentioning it and refers to the story of some dead people that appear without justification, while the second is a documentary that ends very focused on the justification of the leftist ideology in Colombia, touching tangentially the conflict.
During the first government that emerged after the National Front, of the liberal President López Michelsen, the film Camilo, el cura guerrillero came out with an obvious foreign investment in its production, and it was not until 1981 when another movie that touched the subject of the conflict, this time openly, was released.
From 1981, there is a greater production of films dealing with the conflict: for instance, Canaguaro (Dunav Kuzmanich, 1981), Pisingaña (Leopoldo Pinzón, 1982), Caín (Gustavo Nieto Roa, 1984), La virgen de las Mercedes (Dunav Kuzmanich, 1985) and La ley del monte (1989). Three of these films addressed clearly the conflict, and Psingaña and Cain in spite of being focused on relationships, crossed their plots, actors, and characteristics completely with the theme of the conflict. The conflict is much more evident in Caín, but it is treated more deeply and thoughtful in Pisingaña. This idea about the latter film is ratified by Laurens (1988: 108) who says that this is “a Colombian film of modest budget [that] has made the miracle of making us face, albeit briefly, our immediate reality”.
After La ley del monte (Brian Moser, 1989), there is a period of 7 years without the production of a film dealing with the armed conflict, which coincides with the start of the 1990s which constitutes a sort of breakpoint not only for the film production in the country.
At that moment during the government of Virgilio Barco, the political activity revolved around the seventh art and was looking towards the constitutional reform, the rural guerrilla groups of the FARC and the ELN became highly strengthened after Belisario Betancourt’s government of dialog and the M-19 had initiated a political process for the delivery of weapons, the atmosphere was tense due to the systematic attacks to several political leaders, but definitely the strongest problem was drug trafficking with its unquestionable power, the subject of extradition, the figure of Pablo Escobar and the confrontation between cartels which triggered a terrorist war that involved plating bombs in shopping malls and the phenomenon of sicariato (contract killing).
In the middle of the peace process of Andrés Pastrana’s government, Jorge Alí Triana appeared again in 2002 with a more consolidated style in the film Bolivar soy yo, which relies a real-life based story , of an actor who believes he is the Liberator Simón Bolívar, to present a series of questions about the violence in the country, with real images of recent massacres across the country.
Then, under the regulations of the cinema law signed in 2003 and the President Álvaro Uribe’s government of democratic security, several films were produced: La sombra del caminante, the debuting work of the young filmmaker Ciro Guerra (2005), which presented a reflection on the conflict and, Rodrigo Triana’s great 2006 production Soñar no cuesta nada, which was a recreation of a real event and became the most successful film in the history of the country.
3.4. A long-lasting conflict
A second phase of the investigation involved the application of the matrix of criteria to all the films, which generated a large amount of data concerning the narrative construction of films, which were classified based on their components of action, taking into account causality and flow of information, space-time construction and treatment of characters.
Based on the analysis of the actions and narrative intentions it was determined that there are seven films with fictional stories, five of which make constant references to real contexts as it is the case of Bolivar soy yo and Pisingaña, which made historical outlines of the real life events occurring in the country with real documentary images from archives. Similarly, there is the comedy in La virgen de las Mercedes, next to La sombra del caminante and La primera noche with an almost documentary portrayal of the centre of Bogotá, while the other three, Río de Tumbas, Caín and Edipo Alcalde, describe the reality of the conflict with deaths, confrontations and guerrilla, but without making specific references or mentioning real locations.
The interesting thing here is that we found within the same movies a contradiction in their expressive intention: on one hand, we see how from the thematic and genre point of view the conflict is many times moved to the background after the focus is placed on other types of stories (micro stories of the characters), but at the same time the films show their intention to make references to the reality of the conflict, but these references are little explicit, almost shy, scared and little committed with any of the actors involved in the conflict, including the State.
These circular, dead-ended, and tragic structures demonstrate that there is a pessimistic representation of the conflict. The conflict is prolonged in time, without clear reasons and without end. These are pessimistic films concerning the possible solutions for the issues of the conflict, their approach to this reality is fragmented and little critical and creative.
Thus, based on the analysis of the action, there is a conflict that is closed and prolonged, repeated over time, with very marked historical roots related to acts of violence and unreal alternative solutions.
3.5. Spatiotemporal representation
In terms of the analysis of space-time structures related to the way in which decisions are made in relation to the planning and its order, we observed a constant tendency to the analytical construction, i.e. the films reconstruct the spaces based on their own division in many shots and their subsequent organization, thus the construction revolves around the mid-shots, leaving the long shots for the descriptive and contextual elements, but not for the actions, and increasingly giving a more protagonist role to the close-up, as it is technically refined.
This construction, which allows controlling what and how things are displayed, is very characteristic in these movies especially in the scenes related to the reconstruction of violent acts, many of which are portrayed through isolated shots of drops of blood, facial expressions, and sounds out of frame. There are numerous examples that affirm the previous observation: the scene where the town’s silly man finds a corpse floating in the river in Rio de tumbas, the assassination of the protagonist’s family in Canaguaro, the murder of Abel in Caín, the rape of the female protagonist in Pisingaña, the death of Layo in Edipo Alcalde, the abduction of the Americans in Golpe de Estadio, the death of a guerrilla fighter in La toma de la Embajada, the real archive images used in Bolívar soy yo, the death of Toño’s mother in La primera noche, or the beating the gang gives to Mañe in La sombra del caminante.
The same is true in the construction of scenes about armed confrontations, of which we can also find many examples in all films, being particularly interesting the reconstruction of action and space through the analytical editing performed in La toma de la embajada, which used real footage when portraying the outside of the Embassy with the intervention of the national army, shootings and tanks, with reverse angles and closed-ups that were shot and represented by the guerrillas actors who were shooting from windows that were similar to the ones in the real building, achieving a recreation that is very close to the real thing.
The second conclusion is that this type of editing is used in these films specifically to show and make reconstructions of actions from the point of view of the person who gives the orders, but avoids synthetic or rhythmic constructions that allow deepening or reflecting on the developments of the narrative or characters. One could say that these movies are structured with dramatic effects and only in a few cases with narrative events.
That is to say that in spite of dealing with the conflict, whether in the background or as context, and having the clear intention of recreating the real events or the intention of describing the characteristics of the conflict, these films do not portray this subject in any depth. This is also proved by the analysis of depth of the films, which shows that all films follow a scheme in which the information is expanded or remains constant, but is never examined in depth.
Regarding the use of locations there was not a standardised form of representation that made evident a differentiation between the spaces inhabited by the different characters, although generally the guerrilla was outdoors and the State forces were indoors, while the paramilitaries had no space, this is circumstantial in most cases according to the development of actions and not due to the intention of showing a difference of spaces. Although, in texts and dialogues some movies talk of territorial control, this is definitely not evident in the narrative.
3.6. The actors of the conflict as characters
The spatiotemporal construction, the causality and the flow information clearly show that there is a superficial portrayal of characters as simple developers of actions that do not have clear motivations, characteristics, or a dramatic role within the development of the stories.
In spite of this lack of characterization, the narrative analysis of characters construction found common elements of transformation between films in relation to the portrayal of the actors of the conflict.
Not all actors involved in the conflict appeared in the films, the most common are the guerrilla and the armed forces of the State and the affected population. Thus, in the movies from 1964 to 1987 there appears a protagonist guerrilla, always weakened by the strong armed forces and affected by past violent events that justify its actions and struggle, its ideological roots are not clear and when its members are presented they are simple harangues devoid of any development or result in the action.
The armed forces suffer an even stronger transformation: they go from being the torturers in the oldest sample of movies to friends in Golpe de Estadio and the protagonists of Soñar no cuesta nada.
A more consistent vision is perhaps that of the State, which always appears as an indolent, absent and pusillanimous agency with no authority, from Río de tumbas with a mayor who is always suffering stomach-aches and instead of investigating the deaths throws a party to celebrate his politician friend, to Soñar no cuesta nada where the State condemns its army to remain in the forests and face an endless war. This in the only constant idea: the view of State’s abandonment as the main cause of the conflict and its lack of solution.
The same goes for the representation of the population as civilian victims, who suffers the consequences of the absence of the State, and the actions of all the other actors, whatever their role is. However there seems to be a transformation from the population as victim, of the context, in the first films focused on other actors of the conflict, with the exception of Pisingaña, to the population as the protagonist in Bolívar soy yo, La primera noche and La Sombra del caminante.
It is common to see in these films, especially in the most recent ones, the inclusion of predominantly rural characters which, regardless of whether they live in a city or not, bring with them a marked peasant culture that is added to the uprooting of living in the condition of displacement. This condition is addressed by Waldmann when he says that “there is the predominant vision that many peasant immigrants coming from the lower layers have lived the urbanizing process without much enthusiasm and their mentality is still rural and parish, which can also be said of the other layers. In the city, the class conflicts are still settled with power and ruthlessness, and it cannot be said that they have shifted towards a more symbolic level” (Waldmann, 2007: 320).
These are some of the most important conclusions of the project:
It is common that these movies see the death of Jorge Eliecer Gaitán and the rise of the liberal guerrillas as the remote origin and triggering event of the conflict. Frequently, one of these two events is the starting point to tell stories. While the dominant narrative structure in Colombian cinema is linear, these films frequently use the circular structure as a way to justify the behaviour of the characters with the after-effects that the violence has left in them.
Regarding the other actors involved in the conflict, we found that the ideological origins of the combatant condition of the characters is not explicitly described and that sometimes their affiliation to armed groups is omitted (probably as life insurance for the filmmaker), and that their actions are often justified by the fact that they have been the victims of violent acts. Moreover, the spatiotemporal location in the stories is diffuse. The guerrilla appears weakened, without funding possibilities, and reduced in size even at the times in which it has been strengthened. The paramilitaries that appear in few films enjoy great resources and are always allied to the power.
The process of urbanization of the country is also reflected in the treatment of spaces of the films which go from being completely rural in the 1960s to being predominantly mixed in the following decades. It is notable, however, that unlike other contemporary Colombian movies, the films dealing with the armed conflict are not fully urban. Similarly, the characters appear uprooted in urban contexts as a result of displacement or migration phenomena.
In our view, it is outstanding that while the issue of the armed conflict is the most sensitive event of our reality, feature films do not address it frequently, contrary to what is popularly believed. It is also interesting to find out that the issue of drug trafficking, which has been one of the most recurrent in Colombian cinema, does not appear linked with armed groups in the sample of movies.
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5.2. Examined films
El rio de las tumbas (Tombs River) of Julio Luzardo (1965)
Ciro Guerra - Director of La sombra del caminante
 In many film festivals the term Ópera prima (first work) refers to the first and the second feature films of a film director, regardless of whether he or she has directed many short films; some also even refer to the third feature film as an Ópera prima. In Colombia, most of the good directors who made films before the 1990s do not have more than three films in their production.
 Data from the Fundación Proimágenes en Movimiento (Pro-images in Motion Foundation), which manages the Film Development Fund of the Cinema Law in Colombia. The foundation only includes consolidated statistics until 2007.
 According to the guidelines of Colombia’s Ministry of Culture, for a feature film to be considered Colombian it must have more than 70% of national intervention in the process of production (including creative and technical staff).
 Form of government agreed by the two political parties existing in the country between 1958 and 1970, which consisted in the alternation of presidents so that each four years a party could dominate the elections and organize them only among candidates from a same political movement: Conservatives or Liberals. In this period the Colombian presidents were: Alberto Lleras Camargo (Liberal), Guillermo León Valencia (Conservative), Carlos Lleras Restrepo (Liberal), and Misael Pastrana Borrero (Conservative).
 This film was inspired by the real story of Colombian actor Pedro Montoya, who after acting for many years as Bolivar on Colombian television began behaving like Bolivar to the point of suffering serious mental imbalances and believing that he himself was Simón Bolívar. This actor is currently maintained in a mental hospital of the Department of Boyacá in Colombia.
 Interview with Víctor Gaviria for the research “Narrativas del conflicto armado en el cine colombiano” (Narratives of the armed conflict in Colombian cinema), conducted in August 2008 by Jerónimo Rivera.
 According to Robert McKee’s screenwriting theory, this is an act of action and reaction, unlike the narrative event that changes a value from positive to negative and from the structured and ideal plot, where history is articulated with causality reactions.