Jorge Thielen Armand's La Soledad (2016) is showing exclusively on MUBI from March 10 - April 9, 2018 in many countries around the world.
La Soledad is a film that I made with my family and a childhood friend. It is an homage to a place and people I love. I returned to Venezuela in search of a memory, of a time that is forever gone but that refuses to be forgotten. Making the film was a way to archive this memory and protect it from the passage of time; I can forget now. This is my first film and I'm so grateful to be able to share it on MUBI.
I remember discovering the vast gardens of great-grandma's house with José and my cousins; the family stories had transformed La Soledad into a surreal place for us, and my encounters with the spirit of my great-grandfather drew me to this place all my life. I hadn't visited the house since I left Venezuela. I was away in North America for a while, but when I learned the house was going to be demolished I decided to return to Caracas. I wanted to make a film about my childhood memories and the present of this dilapidated mansion with those who still live there. My father brought me to the house, and I saw José for the first time in eleven years; he lives in La Soledad with his family. I proposed we make a film together and he agreed. The question of why my family had ceased the ritual of gathering weekly and on holidays interested me. The answer can be simplistic: it is common that the family nucleus breaks up after the senior family figure dies. But haven't the challenges, imposed on us by our broken country, impacted our relationships as well? Fascinated by what was left behind in La Soledad, I had a desire to conduct a kind of familial archaeological investigation.
I find our vestiges coexisting with the belongings of a new family—cement barbells conquer the antique sewing table, garden fountains have turned into fire pits, and motorcycles obstruct a six-foot painting in the once luxurious family room. The house is more than a metaphor for my family's dispersal, it encapsulates the reality of today's Venezuela, forgotten in time, inhabited by people who have hope but who are not provided with opportunities. Amidst the economic chaos that plagues the country, moral values are also fading. In the film we see this through José’s eyes, when he ventures into a hostile Caracas that provides no solutions to his real-life quest for a better future.