Jauja review film poster

Director: Lisandro Alonso
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Diego Roman, Ghita Norby
Genre: Western Drama
Language: Spanish & Danish with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Argentina, Denmark 2014 109 mins.
Released by Soda Pictures

'Tantalising, ambitious, original and wonderfully absurd.'

Tantalising and wonderfully absurd 'Jauja', shot in a 4 x 3 frame with rounded edges, reminiscent of old films is captivatingly original but tests the patience. A static camera, beautifully composed minimalist shots of characters slowly moving through each frame and no musical accompaniment. It's Argentinian director Lisandro Alonso first use of a formal script and professional actors and with co-screenwriter, poet and playwright, Fabian Casas offers 109 minutes that annoy, frustrate, tantalise and dazzle.

Patagonia, 1882, a remote military outpost during the 'Conquest of the Desert' a genocidal campaign against the native population. Captain Gunnar Dinesen (Vigggo Mortensen) has come from Denmark with his fifteen year-old daughter Ingeborg (Villbjork Agger Malling) who disappears one night with Corto, her Spanish soldier lover. Realising what's happened, he searches for Inge in the desert, the mythical land that's consumed Captain Zuluanga, who like Kurtz in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness has gone native. Reality and myth clash. Death, an Irish Wolf Hound, a woman (Ghita Norby) living in a cave. Tease, tantalise. Time and space merge. Mesmerisingly weird. Stunningly beautiful.

No spoilers but Lisandro Alonso comes up with a dazzling finale. Is it reality or have I emerged from a dream? An existentialist wonderfully absurd cinematic mind game.

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Release Type: 
Release date: 
Friday, April 10, 2015 - 00:30