a film by Robert Bohrer, Emma Rosa Simon


Germany | 2013 | 69:00 min

69min or 58min 30min original Spanish version with English subtitles available
“One day the sea died, from one coast to the other, folding up, shrinking, a coat that is taken away.” This lament intoned by the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral in her poem “The Death of the Sea”, this poeticised phantom pain, could just as well come from Bolivia. The country lost its access to the sea more than a hundred years ago – because of Chile. Unlike Mistral’s poem, however, they do not regard the sea as lost. It has survived as a lost horizon, a locus of national longing. One day Bolivia will return to the sea. This motto is repeated like a mantra, in schools, celebrating “Ocean Day”, in navy training. Yes, Bolivia allows itself the luxury of a navy in preparation of this glorious day, an “armada”, even if it’s navigating Lake Titicaca instead of the Pacific. The film delves deeply into the workings of this myth by following a group of conscripts through their naval training. Quite a few manoeuvres navigate the limits of absurdity, for example when the special divers’ unit leap into the lake with a bold “For Bolivia, goddam!”, or when the female soldiers wear fake high heels with their navy uniforms. Scenes that could have been captured by the wayside, between discipline and reverie, add to the panorama of a “maritime” country in the Andes that sticks to old ideals while taking tiny steps towards modernisation. (DOKLeipzig, Lars Meyer)
Cast and Crew
  • Director Robert Bohrer, Emma Rosa Simon
Original Languages


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