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Dársena sur (1998)


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23 April 1998 (Argentina)  »

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Gritty documentary
3 May 2013 | by See all my reviews

The stories of several inhabitants of a shantytown in the Darsena Sur (South Dock, the southern end of Buenos Aires Harbor) related by themselves. This area, near the mouth of the Riachuelo, an infamously contaminated tributary of the River Plate, is the site of several petrochemical factories that pollute hideously the air and the river's waters. It is a swampy terrain of abandoned rusting cars and garbage dumps. The people living there in makeshift cabins have at best sporadic part time, low paying jobs but are mostly unemployed; some subsist scavenging in the dumps. Incredibly, many manage to have almost a "normal" life; in one scene we see children being walked to school wearing the white smock that, in Argentina, give an aura of equality to all schoolchildren, regardless of their economic circumstances.

Ironically, at the time the movie was made (1998) another abandoned part of the harbor less than two miles north became Puerto Madero, a zone of luxury hotels, expensive restaurants, theaters, cultural centers, corporate buildings and fashionable shops in converted warehouses. It was (and probably still is) the most expensive quarter of the city.

This movie was made during a government whose interest in the "lower classes" was nonexistent. Not living in Buenos Aires, I don't know if conditions in the South Dock have been ameliorated under the present government.

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