On April 5, 2001, shortly after a nearby massacre at the hands of right-wing paramilitaries, two hooded strangers entered the farming town of La Bonga and delivered a letter. The note accused the town of sympathizing with the FARC, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia. The people were given 48 hours to either leave or be forcibly removed. And so, the entirety of La Bonga–150 families–fled that same day. Most resettled in nearby towns that are each an arduous 3-hour walk away from their former homes.
Over time, the jungle that surrounded their town swallowed it whole. There exists little more than memories; an entire generation knows only of their birthplace through the stories of their parents and grandparents. Many see La Bonga as a mythical land that has vanished.
Nearly twenty years later, prompted by the tenuous Colombian peace agreements and led by the only person who has attempted to live there again–María de los Santos––the townspeople decide to resurrect a festival honoring their patron saint, Santa Rosa. The festival acts as a vehicle to bring people together in La Bonga for the first time since their displacement. Yet, to make it a reality, they must confront the jungle to reclaim their home while attempting to reconstruct a place that no longer is.
Cinéma du Réel
March 27, 2023
International Prix du Patrimoine Culturel Immatériel, Prix Loridan-Ivens/Cenap for best first feature
March 28, 2023
Prix Documentaire Rencontres de Toulouse