Sigo Siendo – Kachkaniraqmi (I am still here, 2012)
Directed by Javier Corcuera
Written by Javier Corcuera and Ana de la Prada
Starring: Máximo Damián, Félix Quispe “Duco”, “Palomita”
BY ÚRSULA COX
In Quechua Chanka (from the Ayacucho province in the Peruvian Andes) when two dear old friends meet after a long time the chosen greeting is “¡Kachkaniraqmi!” to express that, despite everything, one still is, still exists, is still here or, in its plural version (Quechua in all its forms doesn’t differentiate between plural and singular), we are still here, we are still, despite the odds.
‘Kachkaniraqmi’ as described by Javier Corcuera, the director, is indeed a journey back to the source, from the place that you come from, where you start to be. Narrated in Quechua, Spanish and Shipibo-Conibo, the documentary unfolds a not-so-evident multinational musical tradition in Peru; a very rich musical heritage shown through different musicians’ personal stories (from a locally famous artist to completely unknown musicians) and their music. “I am still here” is gracefully shot, capturing the country’s most beautiful and distant spots from idyllic rainforest, most-suffered mountains, the Afro-Peruvian southern seaside and the crowded coastal capital, Lima. Even across the contemplative visual narration of the film; Corcuera never loses sight of the most pressing social and economic problems of Peru, exploring and exposing issues of inequality, identity and nationality.
Javier Corcuera’s latest documentary certainly takes him back to his source in a geographical and topical route. Resident in Spain almost 30 years, the Peruvian rose to prominence in 2000 with “The back of the world” film, which shows three different instances of extreme political, racial and social exclusion, that find common ground in the inexplicable injustice and indifference dominating our world. Corcuera’s commitment to social and political justice is a constant presence throughout his filmography (Every so often in the World – 2004, Winter in Baghdad – 2005, Invisibles – 2007).
Water plays an essential role in the film as a recurring theme. The musicians sing to the water and the narrative is held by its route from the Amazonian rivers to the Andean valleys before spilling out into the Pacific Ocean. This image brings a feeling of motion amplified by the use of the road movie format.
“I am still here” is not a musical film, it’s a film about music and silence, tradition and change, the struggle to heal social wounds and vindication, humanity and nature and the overall syncretic reality of a country that still needs to come to terms with that.
The montage struggles from time to time to carry some of the characters but this is a minor issue in a complex mise-en-scène and what amounts to a commendable effort to pack the vastness that is Peru into under two hours.
Sigo Siendo (Kachkaniraqmi) was presented as the closing film at IBERODOCS, the 1st Ibero-American Documentary Film Festival in Scotland, on the 6th of April at Filmhouse Edinburgh.
Úrsula Cox, from Lima, Peru, has lived in Glasgow, Scotland for the last 8 years. She studied Media at ‘La Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru’, at the same time developing a career in Djing, sound mixing and post production. She currently works as Duty Manager and Art Programmer for South Block – Wasps’ Artists Studios, and DJs as ‘La Emolientera’. She’s a serious film and music ‘aficionada’ and loves to exchange her ideas about these fields.