Berlinale

First Names (Los Nombres Propios)

Synopsis
In 1878, the Argentine state perpetrated a genocide against the Mapuche people – the indigenous inhabitants of southwest Argentina- to take over their land in the Patagonian desert. Today, a new genocide is happening. A silent genocide.
In recent years, the area’s small towns have suffered from migration of younger generations, reducing the population by half. The older ones stay and little by little, lose their sight. A strange disease is making them blind. Initially, images disappear from sight. Then, from their thoughts. Landscapes and faces become distorted. The only thing that remains of loved ones is their first name.

Director’s note
José Bustos told me many things. He told me that you cannot escape your land, because the earth is wherever you go. He also told me that corneal transplants are only offered for free in other provinces. And that to do so requires a long bureaucratic process.
As the houses on the Patagonian plateau are built on state land, patients are afraid to go through this process and upon returning, find that their house has been vacated or dismantled by the state itself. They would rather go blind than become homeless. I am interested in small stories in the context of big historic events where the banality of evil is manifested clearly.

Argentina
Director: Fernando Dominguez
Producers: Constanza Sanz Palacios Films (Argentina), Black Forest Films (Germany)
German WCF partner: Black Forest Films
World sales: tbc

Funded in the WCF jury meeting in November 2019
Funding amount: 40.000 €