The Smiling Lombana Will Be the Opening Night Film


Colombian filmmaker Daniela Abad Lombana‘s second feature-film will be the one to open the 58th edition of the International Film Festival of Cartagena -FICCI-. For the second year in a row, a documentary has been chosen to open the festival. This time, basing herself on the portrait of her grandfather the artist Tito Lombana, director Daniela Lombana confronts the lights and shadows of her family and our country.

Daniela Abad Lombana, who participated in FICCI 55 with her first full-length documentary (Carta a una sombra, co-directed with Miguel Salazar), which obtained the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award, plunges again into her own family's memory. She is now the daughter, the granddaughter, and the niece, who takes on the task of raising questions about a family taboo. What seems initially the story of the promising and young artist Tito Lombana and his romance with an intelligent and liberal Italian, begins little by little to put on a dress of shades.

Through the testimonies of his wife, his family, and the people who knew him, the character reveals his creases, in which, beyond the family story, appears something that concerns us very deeply. Tito Lombana, who disowned his country when he went to study in Europe, was caught up in immense contradictions. His figure embodies the tragedy of a society that gave itself to the vortex of success and fast money, without measuring the immediate and future damages of this decision. But the central character of this documentary is also the man who, by himself, takes responsibility for the cost of his actions, and with them changes the fate of the people surrounding him. The documentary adds layers, investigates memories and archives, and confronts the unnamable. The Smiling Lombana sows ideas and questions that have meaning in the present and that are raised by a generation of sons and grandsons, stirring silences and seeking to give meaning to the past in order to prevent its mechanical and unconscious repetition.

FICCI reasserts its commitment to Colombian films which are questioning both in its themes and forms of representation, and to courageous and sincere films that enrich us as a society by making us see head-on what is not easy to see, or what tradition has considered indecent or proscribed. Colombian films, and particularly Colombian documentaries, are showing a complex country that needs to be reconstructed from the truth, painful as it may be.

For five years in a row, the Festival's Audience Award has been awarded to those documentaries which are increasingly showing up in theatres finding an audience that is fascinated, grateful, and –contrary to any cynicism—big. Featuring once more a documentary as its opening night film, the Festival renews its trust in Colombian films and invites viewers to appropriate, discuss, and complete them.