Bicentenario Pablo Álvarez-Mesa Colombia/Canada16mm > digital43 min2021
On the 200th anniversary of Simon Bolivar’s liberation journey across Colombia, Bicentenario reflects on the far-reaching consequences of the Liberator’s legacy, a legacy kept alive through a wide range of intentional and unintentional rituals of remembrance. Summoning Bolivar’s spirit in the exact landscapes that witnessed the battles, Bicentenario reveals the contemporary social rituals that perpetuate the ongoing violence residing deep within the social and political unconscious. Two hundred years after his campaign, Simon Bolivar’s spirit has become a mix of political mysticism, unquestioned doctrine, and enigma—or perhaps a curse that has fixed itself in the collective imaginary of an entire continent. It is this curse that Bicentenario seeks to invoke, and perhaps exorcise. – Pablo Álvarez-Mesa
This film is available to stream globally.
This film is co-presented with Cinema Lamont.
Image credits: all artworks, stills, and portraits courtesy of the artist © Pablo Álvarez-Mesa.
about the artist
Pablo Álvarez-Mesa (Colombia/Canada) is a filmmaker and cinematographer born in 1980 in Medellín, the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province. He has stated about his practice: “I have been interested for some time in structures of social control, especially soft power, which is a profound way through which societies and individuals relate and integrate ideologies and positions. Exploring this through cinema is quite interesting to me, as the politics of every day are often not obvious but rather embedded into patterns of behaviour and culture.” After pursuing Design Engineering at EAFIT University, Álvarez-Mesa switched to filmmaking, studying under British-Canadian filmmaker Chris Welsby and philosopher, film and new media scholar Laura U. Marks. He holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University (2008) and an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University (2014). His work has been widely exhibited at festivals, museums, and other venues internationally, including The Museum of Modern Art, Berlinale, Anthology Film Archives, FICUNAM, Visions du Réel, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Hot Docs, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal, Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive, Arsenal Berlin, Open City Documentary Festival, L’Alternativa Festival de Cinema Independent de Barcelona, and DokuFest International Documentary and Short Film Festival. He is recipient of the Prix Pierre-et-Yolande-Perrault, Les Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma (2009); a Sundance Documentary Film Program Award (2014); Best Short Film, Visions du Réel (2017); Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Outstanding Artist Award, Banff Centre for the Arts (2020); and a Special Jury Commendation, Punto de Vista Festival (2021). Writing about his films has appeared in The New York Times, Senses of Cinema, Screen Daily, and elsewhere. He is an affiliate member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University, an alumnus of Berlinale Talents, Banff Centre for the Arts, and Canadian Film Centre. He was an artist in residence at Fogo Island Arts (2021). He lives and works in Montréal, Québec.