This documentary has been developed relying on principles of activist scholarship and using tools of participatory action research. It is part of a larger project of a PhD dissertation seeking to add understanding to the land conflicts arising in rural Paraguay as the soy frontier expands across the territory.
“Luz Bella, from the eco-resistance” exposes contrasting projects of development competing for access to land resources and reveals multiple land values. Jointly with six peasant leaders, we have produced a 45-minute video aiming to show these land disputes against a background of soy plantations shaping the Paraguayan landscape. First, the project introduces the spectator into the foundations of the peasant settlement and the historical struggle of land occupation. It continues by narrating the mechanisms through which soy penetrates into peasant land. And the third and fourth parts characterize the land conflict and shed light on the hidden languages of valuation upon which other forms of development can evolve.
This participatory film has been the result of one-year process divided in four cooperative stages of i) negotiation of purpose, process and outcomes, ii) technical capacity-building, iii) production and iv) edition. Far from reaching the technical and aesthetical standards of a conventional documentary, what makes it relevant is its purpose to bring at the forefront the subaltern’s representations by looking through their eyes. It attempts to interrupt dominant narratives governing soy production and reveal competing languages of valuation framing rural livelihoods struggles.