Directed by Sebastian Buffa, “Buena Gente” is short documentary that depicts the two sides of Cartagena, Colombia. For an entire day, the camera follows four local friends (Andy Strong, WhiteLove, Lil Ponce, and Sacio Slow), balancing their musical aspirations with the need to make a living.
The first shot sees the four friends singing a capella to the tune of a guitar in a backyard, briefly pausing to tell us their dreams. Then a cut: the bustling streets of Cartagena in the evening have a particular rhythm, allure, and melancholy. We see the friends hustling in the Cartagena nightlife to make a living in a city that both ignores and engulfs them at the same time.
With verite style filmmaking, the short pokes a little fun at the tourism industry, its tourists, while looking at the deep equities that exist in the Colombian city, where the underprivileged cater to the rich and no questions are asked—it’s the norm.
But there’s great humor too. In one scene we see White Love browsing at sun glasses at a local store. He asks, “How much are they?” To which the store clerk says, “10 thousand pesos.” White Love comically and wittingly responds, “And for poor people?” The clerk jokingly says, “Twelve thousand!” It’s a very Latin American moment, to laugh in the face of adversity, but also to laugh at oneself.
At halfway point, the camera follows the four friends in their local village of Olaya. It’s a high contrast to their routine on the other side of Cartagena. They can be their authentic selves and it’s joyful to see. With an affectionate eye, the director achieves to humanize these four friends and the people in the town they live in.
“I built friendships through the creation of music videos and short documentary content with Colombian musicians and artists. ‘Buena Gente’ is the result of these friendships,” Buffa said.
Watch the short in its entirety below.