After the death of their grandfather in a mudslide, Jairo, an itinerant photographer, and Marina, his mute amnesic cousin, decide to go back and try to recover the land from which they were displaced years ago. As they travel in a battered Renault from the capital, Bogotá, to the Caribbean coast, the story of their traumatic past starts to emerge while new dangers lie ahead.
Writer-director Gaviria notes, “I think the film has made a small contribution to humanizing the conflict and especially the situation of the victims. Too often the victims of displacement in Colombia are viewed with mistrust and are wrongly suspected of being somehow complicit with the armed group that forced them to flee. When people see the film, the response we get is one of empathy for the main character's story. Outside of Colombia, audiences have been surprised by the magnitude of the problem. Most had no knowledge of the conflict in Colombia and the displacement it has caused.”
Portrait in a Sea of Lies is an image of Colombia, a country that has been embroiled in a civil war for the last sixty years. Several hundred thousand people have been killed and more than four million have been displaced. Nevertheless, Colombians see themselves as being among the happiest people in the world. Best Ibero American Film, Guadalajara Film Festival.
Carlos Gaviria was born in Bogotá in1956; he graduated from art school in New York in 1986 and subsequently worked as a television cameraman. He began making his first documentaries in the 1990s. Portraits in a Sea of Lies is his first fiction feature.