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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo
10 May 2020 07:09:30
Found By: Iolanthe
As we’ve been seeing this week with Chrissie’s ‘On This Day’ posts, this is the 5th anniversary of Jauja’s Magical Mystery Tour through Denmark. Viggo, Lisandro Alonso and Ghita Nørby went to enormous lengths to bring this film to audiences and although it never played to massive houses outside of Festivals, critics around the world who saw it were mesmerised by Alonso’s work and Viggo’s performance. So this week we have a reminder of what an truly extraordinary piece of cinema it is. Maybe, with all the weirdness of lockdown when normal life has been suspended, it’s time to watch it again?
Jauja… is a beautiful, mystical, intoxicatingly wonderful film...
20 October 2014
Anchored by a rumpled, naturalistic performance by the great Viggo Mortensen…
5 September 2014
The film is framed in a 4:3 aspect ratio and, most strikingly, sports rounded corners on its images. That relatively constricted vision (somehow the rounded corners highlight how quickly the world slips out of view as the camera pans) is offset by the incredible depth that Alonso and masterful cinematographer Timo Salminen produce in their shots. In the open desert, fading gradually from sharp clarity in the foreground to the soft blur of the horizon, the images seem to connote infinity...
...The film is its own journey, and there's seemingly no end to how far you might travel with it.
19 March 2015
…the tight parameters of these frames encourage us to imagine an infinity outside their edges. Rich colors suggest both dream and the artifice of Hollywood Westerns: deep blue clouds on a sky fading to yellow at its base resemble a painted backdrop; pools of golden firelight in a night shot are manifestly lit, as if on a studio set. Visual leitmotifs suggest threads through the maze: pools and streams whose mirrored surfaces suggest doors into other worlds, a tin soldier that turns up in unexpected places...
...the real treasure, the mythical object for which the film sets out, is finally nothing more than the very film that it ends up being.
19 March 2015
A shot of Dinesen staring at himself in mote-speckled water rhymes with a later shot of the captain stretched out on top of a mountain staring at the stars — one man contemplating both himself and his place in the cosmos...
20 March 2015
Mortensen, perhaps the only actor alive who could play Sigmund Freud, William Burroughs and a Middle-earth king, speaks both Danish and Spanish in the film, though he spends most of his time on screen in silence. One of the joys of cinema is the chance to watch great actors just stay still and think.
11 September 2015
Sweating in layers of bulky long johns, and sporting a droopy, weeping mustache, Mortensen carries the film, his human grumbling and surprised, rageful violence conveying the sense of a nervous, basically average man caught on a journey into his own heart of darkness. Increasingly, as the other characters drop away, Mortensen has nothing to play against but nature and himself.
7 October 2014
Alonso’s previous features have been notoriously—and, for many viewers, off-puttingly—slow and cryptic. Mortensen injects the director’s esoteric, anti-psychological themes with a psychological reality that makes them all the more tantalizing.
19 March 2015
Viggo Mortensen, as mysterious here as the Sphinx.
Jauja: Viggo Mortensen Lost in Patagonia
By Eric Vernay - translated by Donna Marie
19 May 2014
Dinesen, with his European manners, books and scientific principles, is at once noble and ridiculous, a civilized man adrift in the wilderness and the embodiment of blind, imperial arrogance. A doting father and a bit of a snob, he seems to absorb the wildness of his surroundings, becoming desperate and almost feral as he wanders the wasteland howling his daughter’s name.
New York Times
19 March 2015
This is a powerhouse performance from Mortensen, as he infuses Dineson with complexity, personality, even a dab of mordant humor – an impressive feat given that the role is largely silent.
As he progresses through this limbo-like landscape we watch him gradually transforming, Mortenson’s weathered features becoming akin to the rocks surrounding him. As he emerges from within dark cracks, kneels to sip dripping streams or dozes underneath the stars, he melts into the environment, the boundaries of Dineson’s self slowly eroding into the Patagonian dirt.
6 April 2015
Our attention is more deliberately focused on Mortensen's place in the landscape, and in the way his soul inhabits his body, clad in a stiff soldier's uniform. Now and again, we do get to look squarely at his face — Alonso wouldn't be so cruel as to deprive us of that entirely. But by holding the camera back, he intensifies both Mortensen's performance and the visual potency of the movie around him. There's so much to take in here that at times I almost felt as if I were absorbing it through my skin.
17 March 2015
This lack of solicitude for the audience—the real time, the featureless stretches of land and sky, the incomplete knowledge of events—is a perfect storm of cinematic minimalism. Rather than consume the movie as if it’s served to us pre-chewed, we lean in, hold our breath, suspend judgment. We’re as lost as Mortensen’s protagonist, and we feel the weight of it acutely. The semi-flat steppes all look the same in every direction, and the minutes tick by, until eventually night falls and we lose our bearings completely.
In These Times
18 March 2015
I’ve now seen Lisandro Alonso’s captivating, unearthly Jauja four times, and I don’t think I’m any closer to telling you what it’s all about; the more I see it, the more puzzled I am. Alonso likes to traffic in the oblique — in the blank, mysterious spaces between the ostensible realities onscreen. That sounds like a lot of hooey, but watching Jauja, which is certainly one of the best films of the year, I never once doubted that I was in the hands of a master filmmaker. For all its seeming austerity, the film pulls you along with incredible force — not unlike the way it pulls its lonely protagonist, played by Viggo Mortensen, along on his quixotic, dreamlike journey....
Jauja is a rapturously bizarre movie that resists knowledge. That’s its secret, intoxicating power; the less you understand, the more mesmerized you are.
21 March 2015
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© Viggo-Works/Iolanthe. Images © 4L Productions/Soda Pictures.