la buena vida

La buena vida - The Good Life

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Jairo Fuentes is the young leader of the community of Tamaquito, a village in the forests of northern Colombia. Here, nature provides the people with everything they need to survive. For centuries, they've hunted in the mountains, foraged for fruit and reared hens, sheep and cattle. But the Wayúu community's way of life is being destroyed by the Cerrejón coal mine. This vast chasm extends for 700 square kilometres, making it the world's largest open-cast coal mine. In Germany, the United Kingdom and Israel, in the Netherlands, Turkey, Japan and the USA, coal from El Cerrejón feeds the power stations which generate the electricity to keep our lives fast-paced, bright and warm. Determined to save his community from the forced displacement which has already swept away other villages, Jairo Fuentes sets out to negotiate with the mine's operators. They're backed by powerful commodity companies such as Glencore, Anglo American and BHP Billiton. The companies promise the villagers the blessings of progress, but the Wayúu place no value on modern, electrified houses – on the so-called "better life". Instead, they embark on a fight to save their life in the forest, which soon becomes a fight to survive.

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Robert Geisendörfer Award
Dekalog Film Award
Gate of Freedom Award, Gdansk Doc Film Festival
Winner, Golden Tree Film Festival
Winner, Boston Latino Film Festival
Winner Bavarian Film Award 2015 - Best Documentary
Doc Selection 2015 - European Film Academy
Winner - Sustainability Award, Festival du Film Vert Lausanne
Grand Prix du Festival - FReDD Festival Toulouse
Winner - Environmental Award, Festival de Cine de Barranquilla
Winner - Nature Film Festival Neustrelitz 2015
Audience Award - Ökofilmtour 2016
Shortlist German Film Award 2015

What the critics say

A disturbing and touching film.
Süddeutsche Zeitung

A deeply moving, illuminating, infuriating documentary.
Stuttgarter Zeitung

A film like a battle scene tableau and a lesson on the global economy.

Brilliant and extremely affecting.

A film of rare authenticity.


Author, Director: Jens Schanze
Assistant Director: Etienne Boussac
Cinematography: Börres Weiffenbach
Camera Assistant: Helge Haack
Sound Recording: Carlos Ibañez, Jesús Casquete, Thorsten Czart, Markus Seitz
Editor: Bernd Euscher
Head of Production: Judith Malek-Mahdavi
Production Manager: Frank Matter
Production Manager Colombia: Liliana Rincón
Sound Mix: Michael Hinreiner
Sound Design: Marc Parisotto, Daniel Dietenberger
Color Grading: Yvonne Tran
Translations: Teresa Calveras Bonjorn
Postproduction Supervisor: Christoffer Kempel
Subtitles: subs hamburg
Commissioning Editors: Margrit Schreiber, Udo Bremer (ZDF/3sat)
Music Composer: Victor Moser, Rainer Bartesch
Legal Advisor: Christian Füllgraf
Producer Marketing & Distribution: Sebastian Engbrocks
Scientific Advisor: Sebastian Rötters
Financially supported by: FFF Bayern, BKM, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, DFFF, Bundesamt für Kultur EDI, Fachausschuss AV & MM BS/BL
Producers: Jens Schanze, Frank Matter, Judith Malek-Mahdavi
World Sales:

Technical Data

Countries: Germany, Switzerland, Colombia
Year: 2015
Shooting format: HD
Screening format: DCP 1:1,85 or Bluray
Sound: SRD 5.1
Running time: 97 minutes (24 fps)