Bolivia (2001) This is the first feature-length film from director Israel Adrian Caetano.
It was an Argentinean & Dutch Production. Filmed in black & white & on a low budget the film was shot 3 days a week over a period of three years. Kind of a neo-realism slice of life film the mostly plot-free film is confined to a café-bar in the lower-middle class Buenos Aires suburb of Villa Crespo, with few trips outside. It tells the story of Freddy (Freddy Flores), a Bolivian with a gentle disposition, who, after Americans burn down the coca fields where he is employed, loses his job. With little work opportunities in Bolivia, he leaves his wife & three daughters & travels to Argentina to search for employment as an undocumented worker. He hopes to make money & later return to his family. He lands a job as a grill cook in a seedy Villa Crespo café where the owner (Enrique Liporace) is happy to skirt Argentinean immigrant laws in order to secure cheap labor. It is in this café that Freddy meets the characters who affect his life: Rosa (Rosa Sanchez), a waitress of Paraguayan/Argentine descent, & an outsider by virtue of her mixed heritage; Hector (Hector Anglada), a traveling salesman from the province of Córdoba who's gay; a Porteno taxi driver (Oscar Bertea), & one of the driver's buddies. Freddy also has to deal with various Argentine café patrons who view all Paraguayans & Bolivians with disdain due to their ethnicity. The film gives us a realistic portrayal of racism immigrant labor & prejudices in Argentina. Cateano used professional & non professional actors. Freddy Flores was a local non professional. Other reviewers state this film is for art film students only. I disagree. All interested in foreign film & film in South America & Argentina will like this film. It very realistic & I enjoyed it. This short 75 minute film about poverty, intolerance, violence, & despair in contemporary Argentina is powerful & I recommend it. This is a universal story. 3 stars.