3 user 14 critic

Southern District (2009)

Zona sur (original title)
For a rich upper-class family locked into their own little world, Bolivia's social changes threaten to burst their bubble.


3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Ninón del Castillo ...
Pascual Loayza ...
Nicolás Fernández ...
Juan Pablo Koria ...
Mariana Vargas ...
Viviana Condori ...
Luisa De Urioste ...
Glenda Rodríguez ...
Ximena Alvarez ...
Aunt Rosario
Juana Chuquimia ...
Comadre Remedios


In La Paz -as opposed to many other cities- the rich live below, which is the Southern District. Life goes on without major mishaps in a large house surrounded by a beautiful garden. It is a wonderful world, a great bubble of comfort, where different personal spheres coexist: the mother, along with her three children and the Aymara inhabitants of the house. The drama surfaces slowly, without narrative ploys, observing day-to-day activities until internal and external forces make the bubble burst. The film relates the story of the final days of an upper-class family, at a time when the country is undergoing social changes. Written by Tokyo International Film Festival

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Release Date:

11 March 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Southern District  »

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| (35 mm version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In September 2009, the film was selected to represent Bolivia in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2010 Academy Awards. See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant study on the class and race divide in apartheid era Bolivia.
19 April 2015 | by (London,United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Set in La Paz we meet an upper class family whose matriarch rules the roost having divorced her husband but retained the house, the kids and the servants. Her three children seem to want for nothing, the daughter and eldest son seem to think hedonism is a virtue and embrace it with full gusto. The youngest is totally charming and seems to walk the divide between the privilege of his family and the drudgery of the domestics.

The butler Wilson does everything for them from cooking their meals to finding where they have left their towel and is a virtual slave to the job – even losing touch with his Aymaran roots and village. But things are moving on in Bolivia, the times they are a changin' and the age of blatant discrimination is coming to an end. The luxurious home in which they live in their protected bubble is about to burst as outside factors and internal strife play catch up.

This is a beautifully made, filmed and acted piece of cinema. It oozes style too and the extensive use of white to dramatic and stylistic effect is truly powerful. It is a film where there are slow reveals but all of them just build and build and the plot will carry you along to the ultimate dénouement. I absolutely loved this film and wish we were afforded more chances to see films from the director Juan Carlos Valdivia in the west – we are missing out on a great talent.

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