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The Rose Seller

The Rose Seller movie

The Rose Seller is a movie about colombian street kids and the actors are not actors. Rather the director, columbian himself, just pulled children off the street and asked to let him film them. I haven’t been able to get the movie out of my mind and have been researching since, looking for groups that directly support these children. Although filmed in Colombia it could have been filmed in Guatemala, or a number of other under developed countries with no social services with street children simply demonstrating their day to day lives.

  The Rose SellerSniffing glue in an abandoned house. Keep in mind the script is loose and these children are not acting. When they sniff glue they are actually sniffing glue.

Monica sniffing glue

Monica sniffing glue to curb her hunger.


Movie description:

La Vendedora de Rosas (The Rose Seller), nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, is anything but rosy. A variation on the tale of the Little Match Girl, it follows the lives of street urchins as they eke out a tough existence in the slums of Medellin, Columbia over a 48 hour period at Christmas time. Thirteen-year-old Monica lives with a spirited group of teenage runaway girls.

They sell roses to survive. It is not easy, particularly as they are still unhardened to street life like some of the older, more experienced kids. But they are moving up in the world, ripping off motorists sitting at traffic lights, experimenting with prostitution and developing glue-sniffing habits. Glue-sniffing, the cheapest high on the market, is happening everywhere in this film. The children are snorting and talking glue throughout. “You smell like glue,” says Monica before kissing her drug-dealing pubescent boyfriend. “You’re completely glued,” another tries to tell her friend when she starts hallucinating. “You’re doing too much glue”. “You’ve nicked my stash of glue”. And so on.

One reviewer writes:

“Some people in Colombia didn’t like this movie because it shows the sad reality of the children in the streets, and because there are no professional actors playing the roles of these children but actually homeless kids. Make no mistake, this is a powerful film and no trained actor would touch your heart the way these kids do. The story is, of course, dark, violent and lacking a happy ending, but that’s the kind of life the youth endures in the harsh Colombian streets.”

Saddly several of the children who participated in this film were deceased before the movie was released. The girl who was the main character has been jailed for murder.

October 11, 2003 A Colombian street vendor, feted at Cannes after starring in a film about life in the slums of the world’s most violent city, has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for murder. Leidy Tabares, 21, who was named after Lady Diana, as the Princess of Wales was known in Colombia, is one of the few members of the cast of The Rose Seller still alive. Many of her co-stars, street people from the slums of Medellin, have been killed in gangland violence since the film was made five years ago. She and her boyfriend, Edison Castaneda, the father of one of her two children, were convicted of the robbery and murder of a taxi driver in August last year. Read the rest of the news article by clicking here to make the jump. Leidy Tabares

I recommend this film for anyone who wants to educate themselves on the realities of street children in underdeveloped countries like Colombia and Guatemala where the government does not provide social services. Sometimes families turn children
away as young as 2-3 years of age because they can not support them. Mothers turn some children out on the street in an effort to save the ones at home because she can not feed or otherwise take care of all her children. I can only begin to imagine how a mother would feel having to choose which of her children to sacrifice in order to save the others. Families should never have to face a decision such as this. With all the resources of all developed countries such as the United States why do people still starve? Why are children turned out on the streets? Why don’t people look beyond their borders and feed the world? I know there are efforts made toward this cause but this is a problem that should no longer exist in modern times. I do what I can through donations and volunteer work but I always feel saddened that no matter how much I do it will never be enough. People are still literally starving to death. Why?

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