'Steel Life' is a film journey about the Central Peruvian Railway during the week of Peru’s most important national holiday, Independence Day, July 28th. The train goes through steep gradients, carrying minerals from Cerro de Pasco, at 4380m altitude, one of the highest cities in the world, to the Port of Callao on the Pacific Ocean.
As the train passes through stations along the route, the story touches upon the lives of Peruvians, who despite sharing the same railway, have different experiences and daily lives. Along the way we find a century old bar that refuses to disappear, a nurse who tries to save children with so much lead in their blood that they will not make it through a metal detector, and a city that devours itself along with the memories and health of the people who live in it.
Dir. Manuel Bauer - 95min - 2022 - Peru, Spain
"a journey through the poisoned majesty of Peru...This vivid documentary follows a train from the Andes to Port of Callao on the Pacific coast, capturing rich life and toxic industrial legacies along the way" - Guardian
"Set amidst staggering scenery, Steel Life alternates between a road movie peppered with encounters and the social x-ray of a country victim of the neo-colonial system." - **Winner** - Visions du Réel, International Critics’ FIPRESCI Award
"the scenes when the train sets off...are breathtakingly beautiful, the high point being a single shot lasting several minutes in which we emerge from a dark tunnel to roll slowly into the snowy mountains." - IDFA