21st December – Friday
According to the Mayans, this is the day the world will end. I think the world ended sometime ago in Juárez but here they are persisting regardless. Chuck Bowden says it all just in the title of his book: ‘Some of the dead are still breathing’. I’m now coughing all the time in fits and my chest and throat are burning. It’s hard to hold the camera steady. Each night I’ve added blankets to my bed. I’m under six at this point and still shivering with teeth chattering. I must have a fever but I don’t want to know about it.
We drive into town and shoot a scene where Josué picks up some shoes he’s going to wear when he meets his daughter after 22 years. He tells the cobbler the story and the man shows off his latest line of cowboy boots. The things have long extended toes just like the boots in Kaurismäki’sLeningrad Cowboys. I’ve no idea how you’re supposed to walk in them.
We then go to Josué’s old neighbourhood and film him talking to old friends. They’re actually the same age as Josué but all look like the next generation up from him. The erosion of drugs and alcohol. They try and hit on him for a bottle of Jalapeño liquor.
His friend’s house looks like a building site and once inside, everything is in one room. Exactly like many houses in Africa I’ve visited and we were treated with the same warmth. Josué discovers that nearly everyone he used to know is dead. I do a single take of them talking that lasts just over an hour.
We hang out on the streets that Josué used to sleep in and I look for evidence that connects the past with the present. We all eat at a takeaway stall. I keep ordering the wrong food as I don’t like red meat. John has no trouble putting away the unwanted dishes. I’ve noticed that sound recordists like to eat a lot.