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A Film by Heddy Honigmann
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The latest documentary from Heddy Honigmann (Forever, Metal and Melancholy, O Amor Natural) focuses on Peru's capital city of Lima, revealing its startling contrasts of wealth and poverty, and how many of its poorest citizens have survived decades of economic crisis, terrorism and government violence, denial of workers' rights, and political corruption.

Demonstrating anew Honigmann's extraordinary talent as one of the most empathetic documentary filmmakers at work today, OBLIVION provides intimate and moving portraits of street musicians, singers, vendors, shoeshine boys, and the gymnasts (some mere children) and jugglers who perform at traffic stops. The film also visits with small business owners, from a leather-goods repairman and a presidential sash manufacturer to a frog-juice vendor, and contrasts the work and home environments of bartenders, waiters and waitresses employed at Lima's finest restaurants and hotels but who live in slums in the city's surrounding hillsides.

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The moving interviews and reminiscences of these resilient and resourceful Peruvians are interwoven with scenes of contemporary political protests and archival footage of the rogues' gallery of the nation's presidents-Fernando Belaúnde (1980-1985), Alan Garcia (1985-1990), Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000)-whose mismanaged or corrupt regimes have turned the majority of Peru's citizens into perennial victims of economic impoverishment and political abuse.

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For most viewers, who are reminded of Peru only by news reports of a major earthquake, a presidential election or the discovery of a decades-old mass grave of army massacre victims, OBLIVION introduces us to the everyday reality of Lima, celebrating a people who, albeit politically powerless, have resisted being consigned to oblivion.

"In a deceptively relaxed way she integrates intimate portraits into a telling picture about the hardship of life under a succession of corrupt governments." —Leon Bankersen, International Film Guide 2009

"A masterpiece... you feel a direct, easygoing and warm approach from the director to her characters."—Dox Magazine

"A multilayered cinematic cocktail which reveals a poetical and Chaplinesque vision of the resilience of humanity."—International Film Critics Federation

"Honigmann's film shows us that for those left behind in the wake of neoliberal economic policies, the terror of trying to survive plays out in long, slow periods of waiting for life to get better." —Kristi M. Wilson, Latin American Perspectives

Official Selection, 2012 Perufest at New York University
Official Selectin, 2010 Film Streams
Mayor’s Prize, 2009 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection, 2009 Maimi International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2009 Movies That Matter Film Festival
Official Selection, 2009 CinemaSalem Film Festival
Official Selection, 2009 RIDM Documentary Festival in Montreal
International Film Critics FIPRESCI Prize, 2008 Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Films
Silver Dove, 2008 Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Films
Jury Prize, 2008 Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Films

93 minutes / color
Release: 2009
Copyright: 2008
Sale: $398

Subject areas:
Adolescence, Economic Sociology, Latin America, Latin American Studies, On 35mm, Peru, Politics, Sociology, South America, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights

Related Links:
The Films of Heddy Honigmann

Also available for rental on 35mm, please inquire.

Related Titles:
Guañape Sur: A barren rock island off the coast of Peru. Every eleven years hundreds of men come here, to dig up guano, the shit the birds leave behind.

The Inheritors: At early age children begin to work in the Mexican countryside. This is a portrait of theirs lives and their daily struggle for survival.

Metal and Melancholy: Roving the city of Lima, Peru, Heddy Honigmann meets teachers, actors, professionals, civil servants and many others who have turned to taxi driving to earn enough to get by.

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