This documentary is a creation that I envisioned even while Kirsten Korell, Karla Nieves and I were still taping in Barrio San Martín, Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina. It is the story of a marginal barrio (neighborhood); a community made up of both immigrants and native-born Comodorenses. For three to four days, we spent time in the Popular Library, our primary connection within the community, walked San Martín Street and Violetas Street, were introduced to the Center of Neighborhood Promotion as well as residents and friends along the way. We talked with these residents about work, the privatization of YPF (the national petroleum company that employed a large proportion of the population), immigration experiences, and what individuals remembered of the neighborhood twenty years ago.
The editing process has been long and complicated, with agonizing decisions to be made about what to include and what to omit. The major themes presented in the documentary are as follows: unemployment and housing, the function of the Popular Library and the Neighborhood Promotion Center, ethnicity and Mapuche [indegenous] cultural traditions, the heterogeneity of the population and discrimination, the Chilean presence, and stories of migration.
Although the time I spent with the residents of Barrio San Martín was short, without an elaborate “goodbye”, I feel that I have gotten to know them more intimately through the time I’ve spent with them during the creation and editing of this documentary. This documentary includes the history of a nation, a city, a barrio, and the individuals residing there.
Everything included in the video—still images, footage, music, voiceovers— originates in those four days spent with the people of Barrio San Martín. This was a conscious decision and necessitated making connections between what different individuals discussed. This was facilitated through the fact that some individuals spoke of their individual experiences, while others spoke in a larger societal and/or historical context. In this video, Barrio San Martín is the narrator of its own story.
is not a completely bilingual video, I hope that all viewers take advantage
of the opportunity to meet the people of Barrio San Martín, familiarize
themselves with the landscape of their home, and see some of the complexities
of their history.
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