SAMUEL IN THE CLOUDS, documentary by Pieter Van Eecke (Bolivia)
Feature documentary. 70min. 2016
In Bolivia, the glaciers are melting. Samuel, an old ski lift operator, is looking out of a window on the rooftop of the world. Through generations his family lived and worked in the snowy mountains, but now snow fails. While scientists are discussing and measuring ominous changes Samuel honors the ancient mountain spirits. Clouds continue to drift by.
Our planet is racing towards damnation at an alarming pace. Climate experts predict that, within 10 to 20 years, the population of the Andes will face severe water shortages due to the disappearance of the glaciers.
Samuel is a first-hand witness. The ancient glacier on top of his divine Chacaltaya Mountain is gone forever. Despite this reality, Samuel continues to chase the increasingly absurd fantasy to find the ski slopes of times past.
On the mountaintop, the spiritual vision of Samuel contrasts with the rational work of the scientists, who seem even more lost than Samuel.
I see the situation as an allegory of humanity; despite the obvious changes, we are not facing reality. The orchestra continues to play, but the Titanic is sinking.
Pieter Van Eecke, February 2016