Land fillharmonic is an absolutely beautiful film. Watching it last week at the Take One Action Film Festival, I expected a heartwarming tale of human ingenuity, turning garbage into musical instruments. The documentary was so much more than that.
It takes us from the ochestras inauspicious beginings, a worker in the landfill using his craft skills to make instruments for the free music classses to the heights success, performing around the world for world leaders and with icons such as megadeath and then back down again, with the realities of living in a flood site with the effects of global warming. All through this we see the community not just the kids, their families, neighbours, friends, taking control of their destiny, dreaming and building their community.
I loved that there was never the sense of the orchestra leader/ teacher Chavez as a hero coming to save the kids. He was working with the community like a true conductor. As an instrument, reacting to and channeling the world around him, creating synchronicity to bring something new and great into the world.
Chavez spoke about the change he was seeking when he first started working in the community. He’d thought that changing the environment could change peoples lives. However the reality made him realise that this change would need to be at the source, the people creating the waste that they were living in. It’s the unintended consequences, our choices can affect people on the other side of the world, the mountains of waste, and global warming are just some of these effects.
He remembered the effect music had on him as a child and wanted to give the kids in the community an opportunity to experience this. Culture is a “human need” as he said. The orchestra allows the teenagers to grow not just as musicians but also as individuals. Learning about emotional and physical maturity. It unites the community, working together to make things better for all.
Another thing that struck me was the need to create opportunities. You would never know that these young people could be talented musicians if they weren’t given the chance to try. I was incredibly moved when one of the girls said thanks for giving us the opportunity to dream. It’s especially poignant after watching Viola Davis’ amazing Emmy speech. “The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else black is opportunity.”Opportunity in many cases is the great divide.
Fantastic movie all around. Definately watch it if you get the opportunity.