Tuki Jencquel Introduces His Film "Está Todo Bien" ("It's All Good")

"The stark discrepancy between the official narrative and the reality for ordinary Venezuelans was so big that it needed to be addressed..."
Tuki Jencquel
Tuki Jencquel's Está Todo Bien ("It's All Good") is showing June 29 – July 28, 2019 on MUBI in the United States in partnership with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.
Esta Todo Bien
We filmed Está Todo Bien between May 2016 and August 2017; before the migrant crisis, before economic sanctions and before Venezuela became international news. Things would get worse, but already then medicine shortages were affecting almost every Venezuelan with a health condition. As we were shooting, the Venezuelan health minister went on an international PR tour to hail what she described as the "the best public health system in the world." On government media, the denial of the health crisis was ubiquitous. The stark discrepancy between the official narrative and the reality for ordinary Venezuelans was so big that it needed to be addressed in the film. 
The easy way would have been to juxtapose the scenes of the struggling protagonists with footage of government statements and propaganda on TV. This would have made a very obvious statement; however, I believe that it would also have created a ridiculing effect and carried the risk of making a Manichean film. But still, the concept of denial was important. I discussed this with my protagonists and told them that according to the government, they had to be liars and performers of fake news. I somehow wanted to play with this idea and turn it around and I asked them if we could present their stories as dramatizations in a theater as if they were just that, actors on a stage. The government could deny reality, but not the right of citizens to dramatize their reality as if it were fiction.
My insensitive proposal was rejected, of course. As it happens, around the same time, through a close friend, I met a trained psychodrama therapist. Psychodrama is group therapy based on role play, role reversal, and dramatization. The entire process is guided by a trained therapist and is carried out in a safe environment. It was perfect: in exchange for therapy I would get the drama scenes. Whatever issues the participants wanted to address during the therapy was up to them. I would not in any way interfere in the process, except for choosing the location: a stage. This time my protagonists consented. We filmed the first session on a Saturday morning in December 2016. They loved the process for its powerful cathartic effect. All the psychodrama scenes in the film are from this one session. Several months later we did a second session which we did not use in the film, but worked as a follow-up for them. Unfortunately, we could not do any more sessions, because like millions of other Venezuelans, several protagonists have also had to migrate abroad. Sadly, Rebeca who was living in Italy thanks to a sponsorship, did not survive her third bone marrow transplant. She left us on April 11, 2019.


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