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Lost Horizon

2013 DOK Leipzig, German Competition Documentary Film
Germany, Bolivia | 2013 | 69 min. | Spanish | English subtitles | World Premiere
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Lost Horizon | Verlorener Horizont

“One day the sea died, from one coast to the other, folding up, shrinking, a coat that is taken away.” This lament intoned by the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral in her poem “The Death of the Sea”, this poeticised phantom pain, could just as well come from Bolivia. The country lost its access to the sea more than a hundred years ago – because of Chile. Unlike Mistral’s poem, however, they do not regard the sea as lost. It has survived as a lost horizon, a locus of national longing. One day Bolivia will return to the sea. This motto is repeated like a mantra, in schools, celebrating “Ocean Day”, in navy training. Yes, Bolivia allows itself the luxury of a navy in preparation of this glorious day, an “armada”, even if it’s navigating Lake Titicaca instead of the Pacific. The film delves deeply into the workings of this myth by following a group of conscripts through their naval training. Quite a few manoeuvres navigate the limits of absurdity, for example when the special divers’ unit leap into the lake with a bold “For Bolivia, goddam!”, or when the female soldiers wear fake high heels with their navy uniforms. Scenes that could have been captured by the wayside, between discipline and reverie, add to the panorama of a “maritime” country in the Andes that sticks to old ideals while taking tiny steps towards modernisation.

Lars Meyer
Original Title: Verlorener Horizont
Country: Germany, Bolivia
Year: 2013
Language: Spanish
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 69 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Robert Bohrer, Emma Simon
Producer: Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert, Ansgar Frerich
Cinematographer: Emma Rosa Simon, Max Preiss
Editor: Kathrin Dietzel
Music: Jan Maihorn
Sound: Florian Dietrich
Script: Robert Bohrer, Emma Simon, Marian Kaiser
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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.