Last Builder

The Last Builder

by Humberto Velez with Dionisio Herrera Gonzalez, Super 8 B&W, Music by Nikola Kodjabashia, Montage by Willian Aldersley, 2008:

We called him Jose, for no reason, although his name was Dionisio Herrera Gonzalez; one of the many unexplained things in a life full of secrets. He was seventy years old when he was captured in this film. He was born in Jamaica, of Cuban-Oriental parents, he always emphasized. And he arrived in Panama when he was still a small child. It was through friends his father had made during the canal construction, that he was hired when he was only fifteen years old, under another name and stating a different age.
Neither Jose, nor Dionisio, was really a Hercules, who boasted that he had split the continents spine with his hands. I opened it with my own hands—he would say, while smiling scornfully. It seemed as if the continent had transferred its strength to him. This was not his only achievement. A pioneer of bodybuilding as a way of life, he had sculpted his body, defying time. Time, on the other hand, had not allowed itself to be completely thwarted, keeping his face for itself.

Giovanna Miralles, writer.