5 reasons why any Colombian should watch Distrito Salvaje on Netflix

Within the framework of the National Strike, and also taking advantage of the premiere of the second season, here are the reasons why Colombians should give it a chance.

Screenshot of Netflix's 'Wild District' trailer.

LatinAmerican Post | Sofia Machado

Leer en español: 5 razones por las que cualquier colombiano debería ver Distrito Salvaje en Netflix

It is a series whose main ingredients include corruption, post conflict and politics, all set in the concrete jungle par excellence: Bogotá. And not only is it well done, but it is so real and so pertinent that it is impossible not to be surprised or diminish its relevance in the present.

Here five reasons why you should watch it:

1. Its main focus is corruption

The demobilized guerrilla person's story trying to adapt to society and realizing that there is (and is part of) a whole network of corruption and power much harder to attack, is not (or should not) be anything new. Nor is the history of those who take advantage of their power and status to manipulate anyone at the expense of their political and monetary interests.

Distrito Salvaje shows both cases in a novel way and almost without a blast, that is, what happens in the series happens in Bogotá and Colombia. But what happens is not enough, and not knowing either, and that is where most of us feel frustrated because it is impossible to know the true dimension of the incidence of corruption, misinformation, war and violence in our daily lives. Especially corruption, whose greatest success is to be silent, behind the scenes without us noticing, and when we finally begin to have a notion of truth, it is also difficult to understand that it cannot be resolved so easily.

2. There are two perspectives for post conflict

This is another important, current, and real issue that the series deals with, also connected with corruption. The story of a former reinserted guerrilla is presented to show the other side of the coin. A difficult story about the complicated task of being part of something again, of trying to be "normal" after a life in the jungle with very different survival rules.

One of the wonders of television and cinema is that they allow us to enter the skin of other people and know, first hand for a moment, what they think and why what happens to them takes place. No one said that by putting themselves in the shoes of others, one has to agree with them, but at least is an exercise of understanding.

The interesting thing about the series is that there is no clear line between who is good and who is bad, everyone is connected (some more than others), each one has his moral code, and that is key to understanding what happens in Colombia. There are not necessarily good or bad, victims or perpetrators, there is much more than that and it is much more complicated as well. Therefore, it is good to be aware that there are always two versions of the same story without necessarily having to justify them.

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3. Made in Colombia and has local talent

It is a very important reason because it would not make sense if it were in English or with actors that have nothing to do with our culture and with Bogotá. I highlight the talent and role of all the actors in this series, because one thing is to play a fictional character, another thing is to play a real and defined character, and another thing is to play a built character that reflects many others, which can become ambiguous. Bravo for that and for taking on the challenge of interpreting an entire society through a few faces.

4. It shows a real Bogotá

Bogotá is wonderful and is big and chaotic, with thousands of faces and thousands of things to show (and others, which, sadly, would be better to hide). What I really liked about the series, besides being referred to Bogotá as the concrete jungle and the wild district itself (adjectives that represent it so well), is the atmosphere that is built and the scenery so real that it is represented.

Everything in the series is very Bogota like: the places, the food, the mountains, the guys going up to Patios by bicycle, the noise, everything. And that is a great point in favor because if the series did not represent the context well, it would be nothing. More than one will feel identified because precisely one reality is not shown, many are shown and in that diversity of perspectives set in the same geographical site, a precise picture of Bogotá and its people is built.

5. It is an exercise in reflection for the situation we are experiencing today

After seeing it, it is impossible not to think about a thousand things and have a thousand reflections of what is happening in Bogotá and Colombia. If this happens, then the series will have fulfilled two objectives: to inform and to generate a reflection. Without standing on one side or the other, and without teaching morality, the series invites you to use your head and thus, opens its way to the third objective - much harder to achieve - that is the action; although taking the first step is always important.

In the end, beyond corruption, post conflict and politics, the series aims to show what many others, in general, want to show: the construction of an individual and collective identity in a world that constantly chains us from different perspectives. Without leaving aside that, in any situation, however serious it may be, the human being can never take away the freedom to decide how to deal with it, the freedom of expression and the fundamental right to fight for a more just and egalitarian society.

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