Film Reviews 2014

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Cannes 2014 report: "Jauja," a wonderful Lisandro Alonso

By Joan Sala - translated by Ollie and Remolina

19 May 2014

Source: Filmin

The waiting has been more than worth it. In a nutshell, Jauja is the greatest and most overwhelming movie in Lisandro Alonso´s filmography and probably one of the most captivating and beautiful experiences in this new edition of the Cannes Festival. Fantastic.

© 4L Productions.
What's it about?

In the olden days, it was thought that Jauja was a mythological land of plenty and happiness. A lot of expeditions were undertaken trying to find that place and prove its existence. Over time, the legend grew out of proportion. Undoubtedly, people were exaggerating, as usual. The one thing we know for sure is that all of those who tried to find that earthly paradise were lost. Jauja tells us one of those stories, that of a father and his daughter who journey deep into a desert far beyond civilization.

Who is behind it?

Among the filmmakers who have emerged during the first decade of the 21st century, the Argentine Lisandro Alonso holds a prominent place. With only four films, he has built one of the most powerful cinematographic experiences of contemporary cinema. Six years after the première in Spain of Liverpool, an exceptional work about space and cinematic time that deserved the Best Film Award in the Gijón Festival, the lens of Aki Kaurismaki's usual cinematographer, Timo Salminen, captures the odd couple of LIsandro and Viggo as they journey deep into a desert that exists beyond the confines of civilization.

Who's in it?

It could be no one else but him. Viggo Mortensen breaks the tradition, being the first professional actor starring in a Lisandro Alonso film. His incorruptible charisma and imposing physicality confirm that there couldn't be a more suitable choice.

What is it?

Lisandro Alonso at his most beautiful and captivating.

What does it offer?

The radical Argentinean filmmaker takes a giant step forward in his filmography hand in hand with the infallible Viggo Mortensen and through a formal device that establishes itself as lord and master of such an outstanding film. Filmed in 4:3, in slide form, as if it were a silent film, Jauja finds expression through a prodigious use of digitizing in which the use of exquisitely defined and elegantly saturated color takes it directly into the world of the magical. Not in vain it´s Aki Kurismaki´s usual photography director who´s behind the lens. Virtues that, coupled with the unmistakable reflection on space and cinematic time that runs the length and breadth of Alonso's essential work, provoke us to confront a look as irresistible as it is narcotic, intoxicating and definitely overwhelming.

Jauja is introduced as being a Lisandro Alonso film with an atypical and novel first act in which the word imposes itself on the play of movement, time and space in a direct evocation of The Searchers. However, it soon gets into a second act that launches us, this time for real, into one of Lisandro Alonso's trademark hallucinatory journeys, a stellar, hypnotic drifting that is as beautiful as it is delusional, glimpsing an existential backdrop that seems more fragile and delicate than visceral or primitive. And it's exactly in this sense that Lisandro Alonso's filmography takes its definitive turn. The one that takes its director to the Olympus of the auteur filmmakers, of the miraculously experimental, of the extraordinarily risky. Feelings captured in the most majestic sequence in the work of the director of La Libertad - Viggo Mortensen sleeping under the stars. And we dreaming of them. Cyclopean dreams.
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Last edited: 31 May 2014 12:48:15