Mar 24, 2009

Oblivion (2009): B+

Oblivion offers a sobering, often heartbreaking surveillance of Lima, Peru's economic despair, although its title proves deceptive insofar as the film finds hope in even the most down-and-out of scenarios. Local native Heddy Honigmann's documentary focuses on a cross-section of citizens with their backs firmly against the wall, most frequently returning to a group of young people who perform stunts during red lights at the crosswalks of a major intersection in hope of spare change handouts, a dangerous occupation that takes its tolls in ways both big and small. The film never settles for easy manipulation and repeatedly taps into the emotive power of the close-up, its subjects speaking at length about hardships past and present; the film breaks away only once, momentarily, after a devastating reveal by a young boy who spends his days shining shoes. Intercutting footage of recent presidential inaugurations between subjects, the film contrasts real-life hardships with the superficial parade that passes for the country's "politics of amnesia"; Oblivion maintains its focus on Peru but its examination of corruption renders its insights universal. "Bandit is too good a word", says one citizen about several past leaders (many subjects discuss Alan GarcĂ­a with bitter specificity), but what sticks more than these people's attitudes towards their government is their unrelenting resilience, best summarized by the motto of a small-time shop owner: "We can fix anything. Nothing's impossible. Everything can be repaired."


  1. Rob's back?

    Rob's back Rob's back Rob's back!

    Word verification: plight

  2. Comment mod turned on, eh? Pussy.

  3. Yes, he's back, and Shermometer-free!

  4. Ha, that obviously touched a nerve!

  5. Rob is back!

    That's all I have..

  6. Anonymous12:05 AM

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