The Barrel

El galón

  • Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
  • England, Venezuela
  • 2013
  • 11 min
  • European Premiere
  • Kids & Docs
Water, water everywhere. Thirteen-year-old Luis David doesn’t know life any other way. He lives with his family in Congo Mirador, a village on stilts in Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. This is an immense body of water, and the biggest oil field in Venezuela. Every day, a few thousand barrels of oil are tapped and turned into a whole lot of dollars. Luis David doesn’t notice much of this, except that they have to go further to find fish as there's too much oil in the water. And that once in a while, a plastic oil drum will float by. The village children know what these are good for: if you cut one of the long sides out of the barrel, you get a kind of floating bathtub – a great little boat for an oil drum race. But Luis David hasn't found a barrel of his own yet, so he goes looking for one. At the same time, he shows us around his watery world, including his house, the fisherman he works for and the waterways that run beneath the houses. Luis David doesn’t go to school anymore, and neither do his friends. That was way too boring, so he now spends his days on and in the water. The camera follows his gaze and skims across the surface, or looks from on high on Luis David down below. Water, water everywhere.


  • 11 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles in: English
Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
Sepp Brudermann for Spiraleye Productions
Executive producer
Don Edkins for Steps
Robin Todd
Sepp Brudermann

IDFA history

European Premiere
Kids & Docs

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IDFA history

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