BREAKDOWN OF A SCENE. MAKING THE ENEMY VISIBLE.
By Armando Guerra
Our film begins with a Garifuna man in hiding, narrating how he escaped being killed by a sicario, a hitman. Throughout the documentary time and time again we hear the stories of people getting shot dead by hitmen, gang members, the police or the army. The reasons seem trivial. You can die a violent death in Honduras for opposing a politician, a business interest, refusing to pay an extortion fee or being at a place at the wrong time.
A la Cortazar in the short story “La Casa Tomada” (House Taken Over) we never saw the executioner’s hand in our documentary. It was too risky for us to try to get access to the gangs. When you are around them, circumstances can change with the flip of a coin. The danger is very real, but we got lucky and found “Diego,” a reformed gang member. Gerry smartly linked his appearance to the taxi driver, another victim of the maras (gangs) and their ruthless extortion tactics of regular people.
The core idea behind my editing of this sequence was to play with layers of ambience, music and dialog and also with the absence of such layers. The sequence kicks off establishing where we are with aerial shots of San Pedro Sula, the world’s most dangerous city. it is not a pretty place, not only because of the crime rate, but literally: the architecture follows no style, the urban planning is chaotic , the grey cityscape is filled with fast-food signs, barbed wire tops the walls around condos. From the aerials and the city sounds we descend to a poor neighbourhood, dirt streets, rural ambience.