Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Director: Lisandro Alonso
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Beautifully shot in the Argentine jungle, LOS MUERTOS is a coolly hypnotic and elegantly austere investigation into the boundaries between nature and civilization--and the violence that lurks within both. — An old man named... more »
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An intriguing, almost surreal journey into the heart of some
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 02/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The beginning of this intriguing film is both magical and haunting. A camera wanders slowly through an unknown jungle, only occasionally zeroing in on something recognizable, a tree trunk, a bit of grass, for the most part the light that only shines partially through the green creates an iridescent pattern of crystals, until we recognize the body of a bleeding child, and then another, and the lower parts of a man who stalks past the camera with a bloody weapon. That's all we have, and all we know, but it leaves us with the suspicion that the seemingly passive and thoughtful prisoner we are introduced to next must have been the murderer.
When we meet Vargas he is an aging man in prison, soon to be released. He is asked by a fellow prisoner to deliver a letter by canoe on his way to find his estranged daughter. As he travels deeper into the forest, he seems to be entering into his own, freeing himself from the estrangement and isolation he had built around himself in prison. There are a number of mysteries that surround his past, and the film is not aiming to reveal mysteries, only to depict a voyage whose outcome is an ambiguous return to the beginning. Vargas speaks only to serve some definite function, and answers questions regarding his past by denying its significance. Still, there is something quite powerful about the enigma that is Vargas, his almost animal bearing, his rough sensuality, his revelation through the landscape and its flowing waters. The film is most easily comparable to the work of Carlos Reygadas, and bears some resemblance to the enigmatic journey depicted in the film Japon. The film manages to maintain tension without any outward acceleration, a slow and simmering style."
Meditative metaphors of a man in the jungle, going down rive
Roger Leatherwood Brown | San Leandro, CA United States | 03/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Los Muertos is a contemplative and controlled film about a man in his environment. The film is incredibly understated, but never boring, in that it's always moving forward. The lead character, Vargas, is simply moving towards where he wants to go, first to deliver a letter one of the inmates left behind gives him for his daughter, and then to find his own grown daughter.
The poetry and grace in the storytelling is in simply watching this man, who has very little interactions with other humans, move forward. He is a man of little words, and of deliberate (and sometimes startling) action. The jungle is a powerful metaphor, of course, as is the river he travels in a small boat. The details of his journey are compelling and almost hypnotic - his smoking-out of a hive to get honeycomb, his sudden grabbing of a goat on the shore to kill it (my, this scene surprised me - it happens in one cut and is not faked), etc.
An elliptical comment early on, in which a man cleaning a fish asks if he really killed his brothers, is answered by Vargas, "I don't remember all that anymore." That's about the extent of the backstory, and the film allows you to consider this man's place and if he can ever find what he's going towards. Less is more in this case, and the film-making ends up being powerful, and evoking Antonioni or Dreyer in its confidence that showing a person in his/her surroundings is sometimes drama enough."