CompadrePoverty is a permanent threat to our friendship,” says Peruvian Daniel Barrientos to director Mikael Wiström at the beginning of the film. These two men from completely different cultural and social environments meet one another for the first time in 1974, when Swedish photographer and journalist Mikael Wiström takes his first trip to Peru.

While photographing a waste site he meets Daniel, an intelligent man who is physically handicapped and frustrated by poverty. Out of their noncommittal conversations, they over time develop a friendship maintained by Wiström’s periodic visits and their mutual correspondence. In 2003, this more experienced Swedish documentary filmmaker sets out to visit his friend after a thirteen-year period. After the initial euphoria of seeing each other again, the bleak picture of Daniel and his family’s current situation begins to open up before Wiström’s eyes. The Swedish filmmaker, in a visually imaginative film full of emotion, creates an interesting contrast between footage taken of Daniel and his family’s everyday life now with that of film shot during his first visit, providing a distinctive view of the mentality and difficult life of the native inhabitants of Peru. The film examines to what extent a friendship is possible between an individual from the rich North and one from the poor South and at the same time, in a very candid and provocative manner, asks one of the fundamental questions of documentary films, whether and to what extent the director uses his heroes for his own purposes.

The film is a co production with Mikael Wiström.


90 min.
Director: Mikael Wiström
Producer: Øyvind Rostad (in co-production with Månharen Film & TV, Sweden)
Release: April 2004