Days like these are much like fishing trips in the Dutch polder canals. You have to spend a lot of time in order to achieve anything, but if you’re not there you’re likely to miss a good catch. Having had a day-and-a-half weekend, today served to get back into action by hanging out and waiting. Sounds like a paradox, but isn’t. I’m happy if I feel I got at least one useful scene at the end of the day, but today we got two. There’s no guarantee any of this material will find its way into the final edit, but in observational documentaries, volume is what it’s all about (we’ve shot some 20 hours by now, and have only just started).
Anyway, after a very nice scene in which Sujeylin bathes and dresses Karla (see image above), we moved back to the park. She kind of sits around while Juan Carlos runs around buying and selling. But suddenly her cell phone is missing from her bag! She gets angry, because only one of her fellow group mates can have stolen it. She’s in a bad mood, throws stuff at Juan Carlos, and gets back to sitting around.
The phone is one of the very few “luxury” items they own. It’s nothing very special, but every time they have a little money to buy credit, she uses it to call her other daughter who lives with her mother in Chontales, and whom she hasn’t seen in a year. We’re going there tomorrow, so should be very interesting.
Anyway, my sound guy was saying that he suspects Juan Carlos of having taken the phone in order to sell it and simulate that he’s brought in money. He didn’t seem as active as usual today and Sujeylin complained to us that he had been smoking dope. But I don’t know if he took the phone. We were around all the time and it’s true he was one of the few ones who had access to her bag. Knowing she would never agree to selling their phone, he might have opted to just take it without her knowing it.
Here’s another picture of a cardboard crib. I really thought I’d never see that, but now we get a new one every day… This really kills me. But the baby is there for her own comfort you know. Sujeylin really takes care of her, and this is a very good way of creating her own space. You can also see she was given an old maxi-cosi today.
Now for the title, an anecdote about being fed up. Armando the camera assistant arrived half an hour early this morning and Sujeylin was already up and about. In fact, I was at a meeting with Casa Alianza, to keep them posted on our progress. Anyway, Sujeylin sees Armando waiting in the streets and says: “And Koen?” “He should be here any moment now,” he says. “I’m really fed up of this,” she says…
So later on Armando tells me this, to my surprise I must say, and in the afternoon I ask her about it. “Are you already fed up of making the film?” She laughs and says: “No, I was fed up of waiting for you guys!” A funny misunderstanding but also an important one: I want her to feel this project belongs to both of us, and there’s nothing worse than being only ten days into the shoot and your protagonist being tired of having you around. A big relief this is not the case. I have been thinking why she would like having us around, and I imagine it has something to do with feeling special (much needed for many of these youngsters), with being able to tell her story (many street kids have a very strong urge to share their life with you on a first meeting), and to do something totally different from her regular life…
So, I don’t know whether we’ll have internet in Chontales, but I’ll do my best. Latest we should be back is on Friday but more likely Thursday. Keep an eye on the blog.
Noticed how the images are bigger now? My mother requested that. (hi mom!)