I was in Brussels this week, where in a way, this film started. The experience came with a very bright flash of deja-vu.
This blog was started in June 2008, a few months after the first finance was confirmed and when I was just on my way to Guatemala to try to find my main character. The first post in this blog was about that moment in Brussels, five whole years earlier, when the idea “got” me. See this post.
I go to Brussels regularly, but this time I got off the metro in Madou and took the underground tunnel to get out on the west-side of the station, the exit closest to my Belgian co-producer’s office, where I was heading. Even though she wasn’t there this time, I clearly saw in front of me a memory of that gypsy woman with a baby in her lap, begging. I recall that my head started spinning with questions and thoughts, mostly related to the baby. That poor little thing, growing up in her mother’s lap, in the open air, begging. I wasn’t even up the stairs yet and out in the street, when I had made the connection to an earlier research trip to Guatemala and the fact that I had seen a pregnant 14-year old living on the streets ready to deliver and raise the baby right there. That was the seed which started this adventure.
This time there it wasn’t the beginning of an idea, but rather the memory of getting infected by it. This moment reminded me of my very first impulse to make this film, to embark on this incredible touching, complicated and rewarding voyage which will no doubt stay with me for life, and with which I hope to be able to affect other people’s lives.
You know how a smell can bring back a strong memory which was buried deep down in your mind? And everything you felt then, returns? It was that kind of experience.