Release date:March 17, 2006
(NY; L.A. release: April, 2006)
Studio:First Run Features
Starring:The Miners of Cerro Rico, Basilio Vargas, Bernardino Vargas, Vanessa Vargas, Manuela Altica Vargas, Braulio Jancko, Padre Jesus, Saturnino Ortega
The film follows two brothers, 14-year-old Basilio and his 12-year-old brother Bernardino, who live in poverty with their mother in the mountains of Bolivia. They work long shifts in the Cerro Rico silver mines, braving deadly conditions to earn enough money to attend school. Daily the brothers go into the underground mining tunnels and tempt fate in order to gain a better life. Through the children’s eyes, we encounter the sixteenth century mine, where devout Catholics sever their ties with God each time they enter the shafts, because of the ancient belief that the devil, as represented in the hundreds of statues constructed in the tunnels, determines the fate of all who work there. Raised without a father, the boys assume many adult responsibilities and must work to afford the clothing and supplies vital to their education. Basilio believes only the mountain devil's generosity will allow them to earn enough money to continue the new school year. Without an education, the brothers have no chance to escape their destiny in the silver mines.