Documentary Feature Film
The documentary narrates the daily drama and the impressive devotion of devoted women to the image of Santiago Apostle. Their stories are intertwined with the emblematic elements of the celebrations in honor of the “saint” as a gesture that takes shape in the spirituality of all a town. It is a look at the metaphor between the myth of the appearance of Santiago in Loíza and the cultural resistance of the community. The title Santiago of the women, alludes to one of the three effigies of the same Santiago Apostle. These projects a specific and local mythology that refers to universal themes of the relationship between the past and present, social, physical and geographical transformations. All the experience of the celebrations to Santiago is kept in memory. They are perhaps an annual renewal passage that reminds us of the character, vitality and function of the loiceña woman as a pillar of the community.
January 14 – February 13, 2024
Director: Rosamary Berrios
Writer: Rosamary Berrios-Hernández
Writer: Juan Pablo Soto-Adames
Producer: Rosamary Berrios-Hernández
Genre: Religion, Culture
Country: Puerto Rico
Run Time: 64 mins.
Contact: [email protected]
Hilda Juana Pizarro
María Del Pilar Tapia
Ana Silvia Fuentes
Rosa Julia Calcaño
Rosamary Berríos Hernández, is a native of Loíza, Puerto Rico. She completed a Master’s degree in Visual Arts with a concentration in Painting at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Academia de San Carlos in 2002.
In her work as a multimedia artist she works with alternative processes in photography, 16mm film image, experimental video, video installation, performance and documentary film. She has participated in numerous national and international collectives, including international film festivals, among which the following stand out: Puerto Rico International Film Festival 2022, (2013) National Art Show Old Arsenal of the Spanish Navy, San Juan PR. (2012) -XVIII Photography Biennial, Museum of the Americas, (2011) FOTO MAC, Contemporary Photography Contest, Museum of Contemporary Art, Santurce, PR.(2009)- “Signes de Nuit” Center Culturel Francais at Jakarta, Indonesia . and 20th International Festival of Curtas-Metragens of Sao Paulo, Brazil, (2008)- MEXICO/NEW YORK/PARIS, Video Art Show, Indianilla Station Cultural Center, Mexico City. V and VI International Festival of Poor Cinema, City of Gibara, Holgín, Cuba (2006 and 2007) In 2005, she received an Honorable Mention in the experimental category at the Festival Magma Mostra di Cinema Breve 2005, Aciriale, Italy.
She is a professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo where she teaches photography and digital cinema in the Department of Tele-Radial Communication. She lives and works her work in her workshop in Loíza.
Santiago de las Mujeres (James of the Women) was born out of the interest to explore themes related to the popular religious beliefs of Loíza’s people in a medium that could document the actual scenarios where those who keep the tradition in honor to Santiago of Loíza live. The characters in the documentary are humble people with whom I have lived and learned to value the cultural richness of my region, along with the vitality, and the enthusiasm of our Afro Caribbean roots.
It has been very interesting to observe said traditions from an aesthetical perspective rather than an anthropological one, in order to extract the elements grounded in the people and which make up their essence. I have lived and enjoyed the festivities in honor of Santiago for over 35 years. Filming in a documentary format as well as in an observational one will allow me to document the physicality of everyday life and the interior nature of human spirituality.
The narrative proposed in Santiago de las Mujeres attempts to represent the limits between fiction and documentary, and proposing a dialogue with the accidental, casual spectator. The making of these images by means of montage requires relating very short sequences that each spectator will have to put together and recreate in his/her mind—an embryonic process in which each scene will lead to the next by cause and effect and causality of the previous one.
The dialogue with the camera is the vehicle to put together the documentary’s structure, laying behind the projected world of the characters. Thus, with its spatial and textual elements, this documentary wants to reveal something about the social and cultural fusion of these rites. It also attempts to trace parallelisms between the characters’ stories, their devotion to James the Apostle, and its imaginary in the present life of the Loíza people.