Film: 3186

Places + Locations | 1940 | Sound | B/W


Peru 1940's

A narrated film about the daily life of the Indian population in the Highlands of Peru, with examples of three forms of Indian life: mining, farming and herding.

Narrator places the Indian population in historical and geographical context within Peru, differentiating between the lives of people living in urban cities such as Lima and Indians living in the highlands. Plaza de Armas (main town square) of Lima, with the Cathedral in the background. The statue of Francisco Pizarro, founder of the city of Lima. Switch to scenes of a busy commercial street scene in Lima. People have mixed features of Indian and Spanish descent. A man hails a taxi which is a big American style car, men and women are in western garb, men wear hats. There are many advertising signs on the street above the shops known as "almacenes". Scene of an old colonial church with a modern building in the background. Several church steeples are visible. Shot shows how Lima is transforming from a Spanish colonial architecture city to a mix of colonial and modern construction. The narrator summarized that this how urban people live, and shown as different of as how Indian people live.

Shots of map of Peru and neighbour countries Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia. Diagram showing the rise of the Andes from Lima, showing progressively higher peaks.

Narrator tells how the highland people were governed by the Incas, and hence the region is known as the Land of the Incas. Two Indian men, dressed in traditional attire, with hats that are flat at the top, ponchos, pants down to the knees, no socks, wearing sandals and carrying a burden on their back. In the background is a river valley with mountains on both sides. The men are walking on what is probably an Inca trail. One man uses a traditional cane to walk.

Shots of a man and a woman with a llama carrying a burden, all walking up a path, in the direction of the mountains. The woman is carrying a baby on her back.

Various shots of Inca farming terraces, temples and ruins. They seemed to be unrestored.

A scene of a shepherd with a herd of alpacas, llamas, each carrying a burden on its back. The man is dressed in traditional attire, with a hat that is small with a round top. Pants to the knees, no socks. He uses a leather lasso to control the animals.

Narrator tells how the Incas had an oral tradition and so it is not known how they did things and there is only what is left to see what they did. Narrator marvels as to how the Incas were able to move big and heavy stones large distances.

Shots of mining town La Oroya, with the whistle of the train in the background. Shots of the apartment houses, provided by the mining companies, of the miners, uniform, square, with small windows, chimneys with smoke coming out of them. Narrator explains how these homes are more modern that the stone homes of most farmers, as the farmers have continued to live in buildings built by the Incas or built using traditional building methods. The shots of the homes show children playing with kites. The children are dressed in western garb. Clothing is hang to dry outside the homes.

Inside an apartment of a housewife in the kitchen, with Indian features, dressed in western garb. She wears a hairstyle of the 40's in America. Next to the stove are the "marmitas" or lunch boxes where she will put the food prepared for her husband. Narrator comments how the mining homes have stoves, chimneys, ovens and the Indian homes do not. The woman leaves her home with the lunch boxes in hand, with a western coat on, and walks to a brick building where she can deliver the food to her husband. The building has a hole where the lunch boxes are placed on a dumb-waiter which is then hoisted down to the dining-room of the mine. The drop-off place is very busy, with lots of Indian women in traditional garb, carrying children on their back, are all trying to deliver their food at the same time. Women are aged 20 - 50. Miners - all young men - are shown in the underground dining room which is a small room where there is a long dining room where the miners are packed cigarette tight. Up close shots show indigenous features of men. Clothing of the men varies in condition, although most seem to be in raggedy condition. Clothing is western style. Narrator comments that women are forbidden in the mines.

Interesting view of La Oroya, with the mine in the centre with fumes coming out of the large smelter chimney. Arid mountains around the town. The mine at La Oroya is a large smelting plant for copper refine.

Busy streets with mountains in the background. People are in western garb primarily. Inside the smelter including movement of huge machinery, men working machines, and the process of making copper slabs.

Indians herding llamas. Close up shot of a mother with a small daughter, dressed in traditional garb, spinning llama wool onto a spindle. They are sitting on the field while tending the llamas. Narrator indicates how wealth is determined by the size of the herds.

Town of Ollantaytambo. Narrator explains that illiteracy amongst Indians means that advertising is done with symbols and physical signs. A basket at the end of a pole indicates the location of a bakery.

Narrator explains that for entertainment the Indians celebrate religious ceremonies known as "fiestas", originating from the time of the Spanish Conquest. Shots of people in traditional garb dancing at the fiesta. Close-ups of musical instruments like conch, flutes. Close-ups of faces, masks, religious ornaments. Flute tunes in the background. Scene takes place in the main square. Narrator explains that dances are of Spanish origin.

Lake Titicaca with scenes of bulls and cows used for meat and hide. Man on a "totora" boat, made of reeds. Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. Switch to scene of farmer working together beating grain. In the background are the adobe houses with thatched roofs. Making of "chuno", a food made of potato. Narrator explains that the potato was given to the western world by the Incas.

Scenes of couple preparing to go to market with their llama and their goods. Man loads llama, wife helps him. Both carry burden on their back of goods to sale. Narrator explains that farmers go to market to sell their goods and that gives them the opportunity to find out news about what is going on in town. During the trip the couple passes a group of 6 men making clay. How the clay is made into adobe cubes to be used to build the houses. Narrator describes the physiognomy of the Indians: large backs, broad shoulders, large calves.

Scenes of farmers using oxen, a sign of wealth. Couple arrives in Cuzco, the main city in the region. Scenes of the Plaza de Armas (town square), no cars, lots of people walking around in Indian attire. No western clothes. Interesting scenes of cobbled streets with walls of Inca masonry and people busily walking up and down. Shot of the 12 corner stone.

Scenes of the market with lots of people and llamas. Women place their goods on a cloth piece on the ground, ready to sell. Sellers specialize in goods. Eg hats, food. Pile of "ojotas" which are sandals made of rubber tires.

Narrator states that there are 3 1/2 million Indians living in the highlands of Peru. Emphasis by narrator on how Indians lead difficult lives and make enough money to meet basic needs. Shots with mountains in the back.

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