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Sins of my Father

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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RESPONSES (9)
  1. Kevin S Flee says:

    damn – i wanna see this

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Me too. Sounds amazing. Whoover does see it, please post comment here.

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  3. Cantankerous says:

    “with the sons of politicians, murdered in the wake of” – with the comma it means the sons were murdered; without the comma will mean the sons of those politicians who were murdered…

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  4. tamara says:

    it was interesting and well developed, but had no stimuli for me.
    i wanted to some more raw footage. i felt like pablo escabars film would live up to his life, being a famous drug lord and such.

    but nonetheless, a good documentary

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  5. Atahualpa Yupanqui says:

    Excuse me Robin Scher: Did you just say “overweight Spanish men doing lines of cocaine”?? Besides all the other problematic formulations of your commentary, let me just respond to one element: Spanish? Say that again? When did Colombia equal Spain? ‘Spanish men’… is this a newly greased and released version of ‘Spic’ or some other insulting essentialist term to refer to the peoples of Abya Yala? And the film?!?! Questionable on its own; but more importantly, it is the only documentary from Latin America/Caribbean in the entire Encounters festival, and it is about a drug dealer. Say no more.

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  6. la colombiana says:

    It’s a pity that the image of my country is reduced to a “spanish man doing lines of cocaine”. This is only part of the global ignorance or main stream that makes us all blinds.
    The film informs the political history and proposes a new way of forgiven between the characters… Is not the best documentary ever seen in my life, but as Atahualpa says, at least something from Latin America. Hope the next version of Encounters bring more variety, and stop feeding the only poor and stereotype image of our countries. Because South Africa is more that Mandela, xenophobia and apartheid, and Colombia es more than coca, marihuana and cafe.

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  7. Andy says:

    at lest he’s Spanish and not Columbian

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  8. la colombiana says:

    another confusion. Why people think Colombia is Columbia??? or America is only States?
    I am American, but never gringa!

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  9. Atahualpa Yupanqui says:

    Who is COLOMBIAN?? Sorry, Pablo Escobar aint from Spain! And I was pointing to the essentialist terms applied to a racist Euro-American imaginary of ‘drug dealers from Latin America’ and what images that conjures. Robin Scher is clear about what those ideas bring about in his mind. Thank you Colombiana for pointing out the other problematic elements of Robin Scher’s comment, as well as what this film is supposed to ‘bring’ to an ‘International’ documentary film festival. Yes, Colombia is more than cocaine, cafe and marijuana — it is a world that Robin Scher and his like will never learn. Maybe next year they will chose a film actually from Colombia (that one was made in Argentina).

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