Nosotros las piedras

Costa Rica/Mexico, 2017
Director: Álvaro Torres Crespo

Spanish with English subtitles | 74 min
Costa Rica Spotlight

Sunday, September 1 | 4:30 PM | Cinematheque

A community of rogue gold panners lives deep in Costa Rica’s jungle in the Osa Peninsula. Until 40 years ago, when the Costa Rican government expelled them from their homes to create a National Park, they panned the entire area of rivers and made a good living from selling gold nuggets. Now they live on the edge of the park in increasing poverty, struggling to survive and risking arrest by engaging in illegal midnight expeditions into protected areas. This exquisitely shot film offers an intimate observational portrait of these individuals: their time spent together at night, the intense and conflictive camaraderie, their way of speaking, their way of understanding the world. It poses a challenging dilemma for the viewer as it posits poverty activism against Costa Rica’s conservationist fame.

Una comunidad de buscadores de oro vive en la Península Osa, en la selva costarricense. Hasta hace 40 años trabajaban en toda la zona y vivían bien vendiendo las pepitas de oro que encontraban. Sin embargo, desde que el gobierno convirtió el lugar en un parque nacional se han visto obligados a realizar sus expediciones de modo ilegal, arriesgándose a ser arrestados y sobreviviendo apenas en la pobreza. Este documental nos muestra un retrato íntimo de sus vidas, su convivencia intensa y a veces conflictiva y su visión del mundo, contrastando su activismo con los esfuerzos conservacionistas en Costa Rica.

The objective of Nosotros Las Piedras is not to idealize the gold miners or to create an aura of anthropological sentimentalism around these men and women, but rather to reflect their current condition: they are modern pariahs in a region where the Costa Rican government prioritizes environmental protection, tourism and the real estate market. The gold miners don’t fit into this equation and are under the constant threat of expulsion and neglect. – UT Austin, Intermedia Workshop

Best Documentary, Cartagena International Film Festival, 2018