Bolivia is not a good country for women to live in. A United Nations Human Development Report on Gender says: “Bolivia treats men better than women”. According to UNICEF, in this country “women are assigned a subordinate, traditional and dependent role, mainly the roles of reproduction and care of the family”. Physical violence against women also prevails in this South American country. In January of this year, an investigation has been launched after video footage of a Bolivian lawmaker was leaked, apparently sexually assaulting an unconscious female colleague in Parliament after an alcohol-fueled lunch. Rape and domestic violence are a daily problem in Bolivia.
Daniela Wayllace, a Bolivian filmmaker who studied Art, Political Science and Animation in Bolivia and Belgium, addresses violence against girls in her most recent work. Wayllace talked to The MaG about this film called “Memento Mori”, which is Latin for “Remember that you will die”. This film has recently won two prizes in Bolivia and Switzerland, and has been shown at innumerous festivals around the world.
The MaG: What was your motivation to do a film with this human rights subject?
D. Wayllace: While I was working at a dance company, I had a conversation with my dance director. He is a sociologist who works with cultural issues in the Altiplano of Bolivia. I talked to him about women’s rights in our country and the problem that many girls are raped by their fathers or close family members. Most of them never go to the police because they are ashamed or afraid. So, many of these girls have to endure the company of their aggressors their whole lives.
This conversation was the starting point for producing a human rights film with a subject that is rather unusual in the world of animation.
The MaG: Why did you choose animation to talk about a subject like this?
D. Wayllace: Through animation you can create different environments, which can take you beyond reality. This was the main idea I used for telling the story of a little girl in an artistic, non-linear way. In an animated film, you can create fictional characters and give life to dreams or fears. And besides, I think the audience’s reaction to an animated film is different then to a live film.
The MaG: What is your goal with this film?
D. Wayllace: The idea of this project is to create awareness about two realities that are present in all societies in the world – rape and the social status of women and children in our violent world.
At the same time, it is important for me to shed light on to this huge problem that exists particularly in Bolivia. I think it’s essential that people around the world know what is happening in my country.
The MaG: Thank you for this interview, Daniela, and for this important film!
Watch “Memento Mori” here: