Country: Argentina / others
Movie Review: Different from anything else, “Jauja” is a picturesque, philosophical neo-western film from Argentinean Lisandro Alonso who counted with Viggo Mortensen in the main role and co-production. In a Patagonian desert, the Danish traveller, captain Gunnar Dinesen (Mortensen), tries to keep his beautiful young daughter Ingeborg (Viilbjork Malling Agger) away from the eyes of the obscene Lieutenant Pittaluga. However, his efforts are in vain since she runs away with the seductive soldier Coto, and later is taken by the mysterious Colonel Zuluago who everybody believed disappeared in uncertain territory. Dinesen resolves to hop on his horse to follow his beloved daughter’s trail in a journey where he finds death, experiences mystical situations, and discovers tortuous ways toward the soul. Once the narrative is a pipe dream, “Jauja” mostly relies in its bucolic visual aesthetics to impress. It’s simultaneously eccentric, excessively contemplative and vague in its insinuations (some ‘coconut heads’ are mentioned but we never put our eyes on them), requiring a lot of patience from the viewers. The deliberate slow pace and an infinity of humdrum distant long shots don’t make things easier, and not even ghostly dogs can awake us from this nightmarish trip to nowhere. Jodorowsky would have made it beautifully bizarre, while Tavernier (some resemblance in terms of mood) certainly would have made it narratively focused. Hereupon, “Jauja” is a very difficult film, that didn’t show any special motive to be distinguishable, beyond the beautiful cinematography from the Finnish Timo Salminen, habitual collaborator of filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki.