‘From Afar’ Director on Highlighting Class Disparity in Modern Venezuela

TheWrap Screening Series: “”We are more and more afraid of intimacy everywhere,” Lorenzo Vigas says

“From Afar,” Venezuela’s foreign Oscar entry, is about an alienated man who befriends a 17-year-old gang member, which prompts changes in both of their lives. And the film’s director, Lorenzo Vigas, believes the film speaks to the disparity among classes in the country today.

“The first idea was to make a film about someone unable to connect emotionally with people,” Vigas told TheWrap awards editor Steve Pond following a screening on Monday. “If I would pick a word to describe the film, I would pick alienation. I don’t know why this came to me, to make a film about the character, but then, living in a country like Venezuela, it brings a lot of important things to the film, like the class difference and also lack of communication between classes. It’s reflected in the film.”

Later, Vigas added that the film also highlights lack of communication in society due to the increasing demand for technology and the decreasing interest in intimacy.

“We are more and more afraid of intimacy everywhere,” he added. “Relationships are through text messages, we have lost the pleasure of contact and intimacy and skin. In a way, Armando, he’s a symbol for that … We are living in this crisis. People are not talking to each other, and further, you could feel the tension in the streets of Caracas.”

Alfredo Castro stars as Amando, who pays young men for their company in Caracas. When he meets 17-year-old Elder (Luis Silva), Armando realizes how different the upper, middle and lower classes live.

“The loneliness of the character, the silence and the isolation works quite well with the noisy city [of Caracas],” Castro said.

“That person that’s unable to connect with people is exactly how we are living a lot now,” added Vigas.

“It’s very noisy, loud, and people are very physical but since the last 10 years, because of this deep crisis, the classes are more and more apart and the government doesn’t talk to people.”

In September, “From Afar” became the first Latin American film to ever win the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion.