Palestinian Film Festival London 2013
Blood on the Condor (1969)
Monday 20 May 2013, by
In the programs for film festivals there are always a few films that on the surface appear a little out of place. Blood on the Condor directed by Jorge Sanjines is a 1969 film set in Bolivia and yet, it deeply resonates through our contemporary life and understanding of the occupied Palestinian State. It is an activist film that explores an oppressed people can be manipulated and subjected to unspeakable acts by a government sanctioned colonising force. A small rural Bolivian community that has recently survived a plague that ravaged their town are now part of a eugenics program. In the battle to save their traditions and protect their future a leader is injured and his wife accompanies him to the city. Once there, despite of the best efforts of his brother this man and is left to die by a society absolves itself from his life.
Blood on the Condor is a classic print, it had great political impact at the time and it was fascinating to watch as it was on real (and scratched) film. It has an impressive soundtrack, included original subtitles and really is an iconic window into both how film can impact an activist cause and cinema history. Interestingly, Sanjines chose to use local and indigenous people in this film and it shows sometimes in the acting; however this choice impacts on the heart and soul of this film and ultimately is an empowering decision for the story.
This film is relevant, should continue to be relevant and hopefully with the discovery of this print and its redistribution, become even more relevant to a new generation of film goers and activists.