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Veronico Cruz. 1987.  Screenplay written by Eduardo Leiva Mueller. Based on original screenplay written by Miquel Pereira and directed by Pereira.  Based on The Experiences of Fortunato Ramos

Film is about a teacher’s memory, his friendship with an Indigenous boy.  Teacher actually is a father figure to the boy growing up.  An Indigenous couple have a baby.  She has Veronico but she dies at his birth. She is buried.  The husband leaves the baby with his grandmother.  Grandmother raises him.  He learns to play flute because his Daddie left it with him as a baby.  Family has a house made of mud bricks.  They own sheep and herd the sheep.  At first boy hesitates to go to school but he is interested in it.  His grandmother does not want him to go to school. At first the teacher finds it hard to get students but eventually they come around.  Later on she okays him to go to school. One day boy returns home and finds his grandmother lying on the floor. She died.  The teacher takes care of him because he is left alone.  It is okay until the whole government of Argentina changes into a military junta again.  They are fascist.  A truck drives out to the small village and starts ordering people around.  The teacher finds out that Veronico has a father. Decides during summer to look for him.  When he goes to police in big town, he gets pulled inside for questioning.  They are so suspicious of him they treat him mean. Act so arrogant and bossy: Don’t look at me.  But they let him go. Teacher is traumatized. How can they find Veronico’s father if they treat everyone’s inquiries suspiciously? They will never find the father.  Return home.  The teacher receives orders to transfer to another school.  He asks boy if he wants to come but boy declines.  Teacher goes to another place to teach.  Teacher keeps contact with boy by letter writing. He does not see him for a long time.  Argentina has a war with United Kingdom over Falkland Islands.  A ship sinks because of war.  At the same time teacher asks boy to write more often. Never receives mail so he goes to boy’s home where he first taught.  He is not there.  The older man he befriends shows him the latest picture of boy who is a grown up young man. He wears a sailor suit. He may have joined the navy.  Man thinks possibly he may have been killed on that ship that sunk.  He is saddened by it all because he knew that boy. He loved that boy.  It is how I have always felt anyhow about friendships with people, considered friends to be precious in that way in my life.

That is why this film meant a lot to me.  Will write a screenplay Tourquoise Sun in LA about an Indigenous woman’s deep friendship with James Morrison of the Doors. He has never had a friendship with a female like her.  It will affect him and her the rest of their lives. 

The landscape of Northern Argentina reminded me of Arizona, high desert. Except in North Argentina the Andes are very high mountains, the big difference compared to Arizona.  Colder probably in Argentina.  In the film location I saw walls of shale similar as Arizona. The land looked dry with bushes and grasses.  His people raised sheep like Dine’ of Arizona and herded them.  In Argentina their predator was the puma or cougar.  Very isolated country.

Also once I taught Indigenous youth.  In Veronico Cruz film story in the beginning the teacher waited for students to attend his class, but it was a no show.  He did not know what to think. He was mystified. He tried to have faith for students to attend.  He spoke with a man in the small village. Man said the students will attend.  Have to trust first. This scene of waiting for students to attend happened to me once with White River Apache students. Hard to believe any student would attend. I worked hard to make it happen. It happened.  The best students were the young women.


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