Alex and Nica are young, in love and engaged to be married. The summer before their wedding, they are backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. The couple hire a local guide to lead them on a camping trek, and the three set off into a stunning wilderness, a landscape that is both overwhelmingly open and frighteningly closed. Walking for hours, they trade anecdotes and play games to pass the time, until a momentary misstep, a gesture that takes only two or three seconds, changes everything. –Locarno Film Festival
Julia Loktev was born in Russia in 1969 and moved to the US when she was nine. She studied film at New York University and wrote, directed and edited her first documentary, Moment of Impact (1998) on her own. Presented at Locarno, it also won several prizes including the Directing Award Documentary at Sundance, the Grand Prize at Cinéma du Réel in Paris and Best Documentary Film at Karlovy Vary. Day Night Day Night (2006) premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, where it won the Prix Regards Jeunes. Julia Loktev also makes video art installations that have been exhibited in art museums worldwide, such as Tate Modern, and was awarded a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship. The Loneliest Planet (2011) is her second fiction feature film. –Locarno Film Festival
Subtle and engaging, The Loneliest Planet may appear simple at a first glace but on reflection proves itself smart, thought provoking and cunning in execution. Almost like a documentary, the naturalistic performances bring out all of the nuances of a modern relationship between two avid lovers of 'the road less traveled' as they slowly hike with their guide through the dwarfing, primal Georgian countryside. 3.5 stars
This week: Locarno 2012, Ben Sachs on The Cat Returns, a defense of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, two pieces on Robert Siodmak + more.
Another round of solid reviews — and The Loneliest Planet is still seeking distribution.
A look at the posters for the films in the main slate of this year’s New York Film Festival.
Loktev’s second feature will be riding into the New York Film Festival on a wave of glowing reviews.
Strong films by Karim Aïnouz, Julia Loktev, and Alejandro Landes, and disappointments from Todd Solondz, Whit Stillman, and Guo Xiaolu.