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Sins of my Father

by Robin Scher / 28.08.2010

Pablo Escobar – the name incites images of secret jungle hideouts, lavish lifestyles, and overweight Spanish men doing lines of cocaine off large breasted, topless women. If that’s what you imagine when thinking of the notorious Colombian drug lord, then Sins of My Father is probably not going to satisfy you.

This documentary, one of many fantastic films on offer at the Encounters film festival, explores the Escobar saga from the perspective of his family left to face the aftermath of his collapsed empire. It follows Sebastián Marroquín (formerly Juan Pablo Escobar) son of Pablo and now an exile from his native country. Essentially a story of redemption, Sebastian seeks to reconnect with the sons of politicians, murdered in the wake of the intense violence inflicted on Colombia by the Escobar Empire. Filmed over the course of a four year period, we follow his emotional journey culminating in the climactic meeting between him and his father’s former enemy’s son’s. Having been granted special access to the family’s personal archives, the documentary offers a rare glimpse into the personal life of Escobar, from home video’s of parties at the Mansion to a voice recording of the drug baron himself singing nursery rhymes – who would have thought?

I enjoyed the raw, ‘unpolished’ nature of the film. The incredibly moving footage combined with original tapes of the family meant very little extra production value was needed. Some may criticise it for losing momentum towards the end, but don’t go in only expecting cocaine and strippers. The documentary ultimately offers a unique perspective on Escobar’s reign. If you want to do something ‘cultural’ with your Sunday evening – go watch this film! http://www.encounters.co.za/international-films.html

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