Review: Silver or Lead (2020)

Uppsala Short Film festival
International Competition

Courtesy of Uppsala Short Film Festival

Done in the form of a gangsta rap music video, Silver or Lead – written and directed by the Colombian performance artist Nadia Granados is a tongue sharp criticism of the culture of violence cherished in popular video games, and it’s the latest in the series of her body-based works in combination with multi-media technologies that question the public representation of violence, its presence in the media and its the origins.

As big illuminated letters pompeously announce on a giant Zeppelin that opens Silver or Lead – “The World is Yours”, but it could just state that the world is men’s, because that is what the song is all about. When the rapper stars performing his alleged ode to toughness, money, respect and “learning from the best” – the images of big mafia bosses such as Pablo Escobar pop up from the archive footage, or later on, even on the singer’s shirt.

Granados slips into the role of a macho rapper who’s sporting golden chains and a guilded gun, while in the background different scenes of violence take place. “It’s important that penises remain erect”, sings the fake rapper while rubbing his gun. “He” is gradually joined by his avatar dressed in exactly same garments. The virtual macho is a sort of a backup singer/ dancer, and along the video he gets multiplied.

“Competition in war in life is normal/ death is normalized, the job of killing/ this is not for weak or disabled”; those lyrics sound like coming from the average whomever wannabe that plays on the tough ticket. The pose, the styling and the attitude are there, and in those words that lack any substance and that are sung to mandatory arm-waving-arm-crossing-finger-pointing, is the essence of all that’s wrong with accepting the politics of violence. The absurdity of it is visually strong present in the film in film that runs parallelly. Bullets are flying, dead bodies pile up while the mountain of cash is growing.

Nadia Granada had a support of Isabelle Arves in selecting very specific video games to be incorporated in the visuals of the film. The film is currently screened in the international competition of Uppsala Short Film Festival.

Original Title: Plata o Plomo
Country: Colombia
Language: Spanish
Runtime: 4′
Year: 2020
Written/ Directed/ Performed by: Nadia Granados
Support in video games: Isabella Arves
Sound production: Cristian Cook
Camera/ editing: Nadia Granados