La Sierra (2005)

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The violence of civil war has been a fact of life in Colombia for so long that a generation has grown up there never knowing peace, and three members of a street gang-turned-paramilitary force are profiled in this documentary, shot during the space of a year in Le Sierra, a ghetto community in the Colombian city of Medellin. Bloque Metro is a band of armed youths backed by right-wing factions who are in violent opposition to Colombia's left-wing military force, the ELN. Bloque Metro is led by Edison Florez, a 22-year-old who has a difficult relationship with his family, a large cache of automatic rifles, and six children by as many different girlfriends. Nineteen-year-old Jesus Martinez is a close friend of Edison who lost one of his hands when a grenade went off too soon. While he still totes a rifle for Bloque Metro, he smokes marijuana constantly to deal with his mental and physical pain, and doesn't imagine himself living long enough to see the birth of his son. And Cielo Munoz is a 17-year-old girl who is pregnant with the child of another Bloque Metro soldier who is currently in prison; her last boyfriend was killed by a member of an ELN faction who happened to be her cousin. Focusing on the desperate hope and casual nihilism of these children of war, La Sierra received its American premiere at the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival.

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