A masterwork of transfixing beauty from Lisandro Alonso. One of the most gorgeous looking films of the decade too. And Viggo Mortensen is like the most overlooked actor ever. He actually speaks two languages in this one. None of those are english. This proves that his range goes way over the US. Highly recommend this poetic odyssey.
This is a movie of hallucinatory strangeness, often playing like a structural film experiment in how far apart you can separate people and have them be in the same frame. A maximalism in landscape and color (and barking seals) combines with a minimalism in plot and dialog to create one of the only truly dreamlike experiences in cinema. The startling coda transforms the movie into an authentic surrealist masterpiece.
It starts off sort of seeming like a disaster of mismanaged tone and mise-en-scène. Then you realize that it is all done intentionally (you cannot consistently "mismanage" in this manner), is actually very funny (this is a comedy about white man's hubris), and all set in motion to tap the profound. The thing is: I enthusiastically encourage Alonso to get back to what he was doing before this weird profound comedy.
At once a gorgeous McCarthy-esque (Cormac of course) exercise in the spirituality of materialism, a parable of patriarchy, a metaphysical tale of man's endless futile quests and the overriding myth of progress. Phew. When we shield others from the world we prove ourselves the ultimate fool and the lessons we have to learn might be scary ones.
A surreal and existential cry, as much about the cragginess of the landscape as a man's anguish and determination or the impotence of reason. Alonso's rich, filmic color and academy ratio emphasize the surroundings and man's inconsequential positioning therein.
I loved most of the scenes and the matured digital format, the theatricality and the slow magic of absence, but the Danish dialog (Bergman? Ibsen?) was boring and overloaded. This is however a brief discomfort quickly replaced by some magnificent views of the Danish countryside. And, of course, as to the content itself, (almost) quoting a character, I scratched myself bloody thinking what the ending means.
Shot in 4:3 ratio with rounded edges and with colours that reminded me of old Technicolor movies, Jauja looks and feels and smells of 19th century where it is set. The story is simple - a man looking for his daughter - but it gives the frame needed for beautiful cinematography and meditative moments in outlandish scenery (somewhere in Argentina). Viggo Mortensen does great work as the lost father.