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Living in a Perfect World is a 2006 feature-length documentary film by National Geographic Channel International (NGCI) about the Low German-speaking Mennonites between Chihuahua Desert and the Bolivian forest.

Living in a Perfect World
Directed byDiego D'Innocenzo, Marco Leopardi
Produced byL'Immagine sas (Rome, Italy)
Written byRoberta Cortella
Music byRoberto Gori, Edoardo Bignozzi
Distributed byNational Geographic Channel International (Washington, USA)
Release date
  • 2006 (2006)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryMexico, Italy, United States
LanguageEnglish, Spanish, Low German

The dialogue in the documentary is in Spanish and the Plautdietsch dialect of Low German with English and other subtitles.

Living in a Perfect World was awarded as Best Documentary of the BigScreen Festival in 2007.[1]


The documentary tells the stories of four traditional Mennonites (Aganetha, Cornelio, Pedro and Jacobo) living in two different communities. The colonies of El Sabinal and El Capulin are settled in the Mexican state of Chihuahua and look like typical communities of conservative so-called "Russian" Mennonites, who formed as an ethnic group in southern Russia, but who are of Dutch and German ancestry and language. These Mennonites have a long history of migrations, beginning in the Netherlands, where the group originated, to the then mostly German-speaking area around Danzig (see also: Vistula delta Mennonites) and from there to Russia (see also: Chortitza Colony and Molotschna Colony, then to Canada and from there to Mexico in search of a place where they can freely practice their religion and speak Plautdietsch, an East Low German dialect of the Low German language. The four protagonists are longing for their perfect world in balance between tradition and modernity: The colony of El Sabinal lives in isolation and rejects any modern technology, whereas the colony of El Capulin begins to accept innovations such as electricity and cars. The more orthodox members of the community will migrate to the Bolivian rainforest.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2010-01-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

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