Jauja: Viggo Mortensen, Following John Wayne's Footsteps
By Franck Nouchi - translated by Ollie and Zoe
19 May 2014
© 4L Productions.
In Jauja, the sixth feature film by the Argentine Lisandro Alonso, there is one of the most beautiful shots that we have seen since the beginning of the Festival: at night, lying down on a rock, lost in the desert, his sword at his side, Captain Gunnar Dinesen (Viggo Mortensen) falls asleep under the celestial vault. At the far end of Patagonia, while a genocidal campaign against the "coconut heads" who live in this region is being prepared, this Danish engineer, a volunteer in the Argentine army, has gone off alone in search of his daughter and the young soldier with whom she´s fallen in love.
This man who is walking has finally fallen asleep. His steps have taken him to this rock before leading him, although he does not know it yet, to a dog sitting still in a puddle of water in the desert. Later, guided by the dog, he will walk again, and again, until he loses all sense of time and space and merges with the arid and spectacular landscapes he passes through. It´s impossible then not to think of Giacometti.
Written in collaboration with the Argentine poet Fabian Casas, Jauja is a film of great formal beauty. Consisting mainly of long static, square format shots, it is a truly amazing sensory experience; the soundtrack is nothing but the sound of the wind, the storm, and the steps on the ground.
A Danish Night's Dream
It doesn´t matter whether reality takes the form of an hallucination or its opposite: "A man is not all men." To be or not to be? "I do not know," the Danish Captain will say . Far from Patagonia, in Denmark, a young blonde girl will also eventually wake up in a room of her beautiful castle. What was then this Danish night´s dream? A wonderful reflection on the evocative power of cinema.
And, incidentally, the umpteenth confirmation of Viggo Mortensen´s great talent. Mustachioed , astride his horse in a cavalry uniform, sword in sheath and a splendid hat on his head, he is reminiscent of John Wayne in the early John Ford films.
Last edited: 25 May 2014 13:25:04
© Le Monde (France).