College of Liberal Arts

Screening of Nosotros Las Piedras [We the Stones]

Wednesday Apr 24, 2019 7:00 PM | Alamo Drafthouse Mueller

A screening of the film Nosotros Las Piedras (We the Stones) followed by questions and answers with the director.  Tickets will cost $5.


Synopsis of Nostoros Las Piedras (We the Stones)


This documentary examines the daily life of a group of people who have been routinely invisibilized. The little that we know about Costa Rican gold miners comes from tendentious news stories that paint them to be enemies of the environment, which in the national imaginary is the equivalent of everyone’s worst enemy.  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.

Despite their condition, we recognize the gold miners to be fighters, with histories filled not just with resignation, exhaustion and nostalgia but also with vitality, pride and optimism. Attempting to reflect this fighter’s spirit is one of the primary objectives of this documentary.

The intimate approach implicit to this project facilitates the humanization of this group of individuals: they are complex, passionate, overflowing with desires and fears. The project’s director has already developed a relationship with a sizable number of gold miners, having spent long stretches of time with them. This allows for greater depth in our exploration of the gold miners’ daily work, and therefore of their realities and the social, economic and political dynamics that intersect in the Costa Rican Pacific South.  

The first audiovisual component of the film is precisely that intimate observational portrait of these individuals: the act of gold mining, their illegal expeditions into protected areas, their time spent together at night, the intense and conflictive camaraderie, their way of speaking, their way of understanding the world. The close-knit relationship formed between the director and his crew and the documentary’s protagonists guarantees that we will be present for the most personal moments.

The second structural component is a concrete narrative line: the struggle of the protagonists and supporting characters to organize themselves as a community in order to stand up to the government at such as critical moment, the way in which the government itself implements their directive to expel the gold miners, and the uncertain future of the gold miners once they are expelled from Corcovado. It is worth mentioning that one of the gold miners belongs to a group that is organizing through legal channels to fight for fair compensation from the government. This second narrative line will include meetings and discussions among the gold miners, possible confrontations with park rangers, public council meetings with members of government, and visits with their lawyer.   

The general objective of the film is to attempt to contribute to an understanding of the human condition through the power of observation, to invite the audience into a world that for many is only accessible through film. It is also an opportunity to deconstruct the imaginary imposed by the federal government and the majority of mass media outlets. Film as a force to create new meanings.

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