Decoding themes from award-winning documentary

30 May 2022
Jael Rincon, Dr Roberto Esposto and Diana Paez.

An award-winning documentary that chronicles the lives of many Latin Americans and Spaniards who left their homes for a new start in Australia was a hot topic at the Moro Spanish Film Festival held earlier this month.

Senior Lecturer in Spanish & Latin American Studies Dr Roberto Esposto took part in a Q&A after the screening of ‘Our Voices’ (Nuestra Voces), answering some audience questions alongside the film’s director Diana Paez and moderator Jael Rincon.

Our Voices is a documentary that was filmed during the two-year COVID pandemic and lockdowns in Melbourne; shining a light on refugees and migrants who left their respective countries from the 1960s to the 1980s for a new life in Australia.

Dr Esposto said being a part of the film festival was a really rewarding experience.

“In Australia, the general perception of Latinos is through the lens of the United States and of Hollywood, and of streaming services like Netflix.

“We seem to forget that Australia also has a considerable Latin American migration and indeed Spanish migration that goes back well over 60 years.

“Some of these people, now aged in their 70s and 80s, were in fact refugees, escaping from Franco’s fascist Spain,” he said.

This film tells their stories through interviews and historical footage, providing personal accounts of refugee and migrant experiences of many members of this community; their struggles with homesickness and communication, isolation and their resilient will power to begin a new life in their adopted country.

“Being able to engage with an audience that was so receptive the documentary was an incredibly insightful experience,” he said.

“It was great to not only take part in the panel Q&A, but to also listen to audience members as they shared their own personal stories.”

Dr Esposto spoke of the Latin America diaspora of the 1970s and 1980s in Australia, at a time of political violence and military regimes in the Southern cone of South America and Central America respectively.

Sharing a personal account of his family in the mid ‘70s in Melbourne when starting a new life in Australia with all the trials and tribulations which that entails.

The Moro Spanish Film Festival 2022 offered a celebration of Spanish language, culture and cinema showcasing a curated selection of 34 films offering film lovers a cinematic journey across Spain and Latin America.

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