In Praise of Love (U slavu ljubavi)
By overlapping the story of a disappearing village with invaluable piece of human heritage – the tragedy of “Romeo and Juliet” enacted by village teenagers – I was attempting to find out what being “human” means in this particular moment of history.
Potrero is a village on a desert plateau of the Mexican state San Luis Potosi. In addition to being physically isolated, the village has no internet access, no landline, nor cell-phone coverage. At the beginning of the last century, wealthy landowners, who had run from the revolutionaries, abandoned their haciendas. Abandoned buildings were taken over by poor families that still maintain their households in the functional parts of the ruins. The struggle of the inhabitants continues as they try to preserve their lives in a place in which the time has its own flow. While the everyday routine of the village is establishing circles of days, it is yet being threatened by the power of the rich and their interests.
Inhabitants of Potrero accepted my proposal to make a film in their village, a film that combines their everyday lives and the narrative of Shakespeare’s work, “Romeo and Juliet”. The scenes of the tragedy are enacted by teenagers aged 12 to 16. In the hands of adolescents around the age of the tragedy’s protagonists, Shakespeare’s work unveils the meanings that are often lost in numerous existing interpretations. United with their peers, “star-crossed” lovers from a different culture and a different era who died for their dream, eight teenagers use a dying village as their stage and Shakespeare’s mastery as support to present their own views, dreams, interests, values, and solutions. Our film presents the viewer a choice – to let it all drown in the passivity of own good intentions, or to join back the fight of young lovers as eternalized for us in Shakespeare’s tragedy.