Bagatelle
Filmfest 2009

Bogota has one of the highest crime rates in the world. In this documentary, director Jorge Caballero focuses on one day at a court in the city; hearings are held and sentences handed down for small misdemeanors that under local law are regarded as serious crimes. Most scenes feature interviews with defence attorneys and defendants, revealing both the crime which they have (or have not) committed and their standard of living. Colombian criminal law is extremely strict: the theft of a bottle of cologne, for instance, can lead to two years in jail. High sentences for banal infractions - which the whole court machinery feeds off - are, however, automatically reduced or overturned if the defendant pleads guilty. For that reason the number of crimes solved in Bogota is very high. Defence lawyers hear similar stories every day: their clients include people with low incomes, sometimes jobless, often homeless, drug addicts or supporting large families. If they escape prison today, how long will it be before they return to court? One World 09 Human Rights Film Festival

tags: Documentary

Credits

Director: Jorge Caballero Ramos