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THE ESMERALDAS BEACH
In today’s Ecuador, the black population, the descendants of enslaved Africans, continue to experience strong racial and social discrimination. Yet people in the community still strive to value their specific culture and transmit the rebellious memory of their ancestors who fought for freedom. The Esmeraldas Beach sets out to expose the invisibility of Afro-Ecuadorians and rectify the narrative of the country’s history with the film’s central protagonist, Juan García, who has worked on that project for years. He developed a school book that presents black Ecuadorians prominently since the only Afro-descendants shown in local school books are portrayed next to a marimba and football. The documentary also addresses the 1999 assassination of Prime Minister Jaime Hurtado, the first Black to hold this office.
Directed by Patrice Raynal, 2020, France/Ecuador, 58 minutes, documentary, French and Spanish with English subtitles.
SUSANA BACA: MEMORIA VIVA
Susana Baca is not only a champion in the performance and preservation of Afro-Peruvian heritage, but also an elegant singer whose shimmering voice sings of love, loss and life. Susana and her husband Ricardo Pereira have founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo “Black Continuum” in Lima, a spirited facility for the exploration, expression, and creation of Black Peruvian culture. While Baca has dedicated herself to researching and performing virtually all forms of Afro-Peruvian folklore, it is the Lando that has become her trademark. This slow to mid-tempo, highly evocative mix of Spanish, Indigenous and African rhythms has become what the son is to Cuba, or the samba to Brazil--the Lando is the sound of Black Peru.
Directed by Marc Dixon, 2003, Peru/Belgium, 54 minutes, documentary, English & Spanish with English subtitles.