Juanchi, a 21-year-old from a small town outside Buenos Aires, supports himself and his family by digging through trash. Six days a week, he roams the street of the Argentine capital in search of cardboard and other recyclables, hoping to sell his findings to a recycling depository.
Like thousands of Argentines, he is "un cartonero", a cardboard collection. "Cartoneros" comprise part of the country's booming informal economy, which swelled drastically following the 2001 economic collapse of the country. Now, as the government scrambles to repay foreign debt and find solid footing in an ever globalized economy, the cardboard collectors' presence in the Argentine discourse continues to emerge. Will the benefits of free trade trickle down to people like Juanchi? How does Argentina's partnership with the IMF and the World Bank play into their struggle for daily survival?
LOS CARTONEROS explores the relationship of globalization, poverty, and how they affect the lives of those living through them.
"Recommended. The film documents the livelihood of cartoneros, "the carboard people," who like on the socioeconomic edge of Argentinean society…"The Cardboard People" offers an unmediared, candid view of a subculture on the margins of the Argentinean economic system. The film supports curriculum in sociology, environmental studies, political science, and economics.
- Wendy Highby, UNC, Educational Media Reviews Online