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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

UTAMA

ENDS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24

Wednesday, November 23:
12:20   4:30 

Thursday, November 24:
12:20   4:30   7:00

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALEJANDRO LOAYZA GRISI

The language of love for an elderly Quechua couple living in the starkly sublime Bolivian highlands is gesture, silence, and the tender facial expressions of two people as intimate with each other's wants and worries as they are with the drought threatening their livelihood. Barbara Alvarez’s cinematography sets the vibrant colors of domestic life against arresting widescreen tracking shots of rural Bolivia's cracked earth and a (stunningly photogenic) herd of llamas. The search for water, a health crisis, and a city-born grandson's pressure to abandon their ranch and way of life converge in this moving drama of devotion and survival.  "Meditative and deeply romantic.  Rarely has the [climate] crisis been addressed as organically -- or with quite so many llamas." – Marya E. Gates, RogerEbert.com  

With support from the Robert E. Appel Fund for Spanish and Portuguese Language Film

2022     87 MIN.     BOLIVIA / URUGUAY / FRANCE     KINO LORBER
IN QUECHUA AND SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES    

Reviews

"...an uneasy mix of beauty and dread. [writer-director Alejandro Loayza Grisi] has a feel for the drama of color, form, scale and light, as well as a sensitive collaborator in his cinematographer, Bárbara Alvarez. With a lucid eye and a steady camera, he captures the region’s brutal beauty, using stark contrasts…an aesthetically soothing package and gently salted with tears.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“(A) film of dazzling visual power and genuine poignancy.”
– Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com

“Beautifully realized feature debut. Shot in artfully composed and vibrantly colored widescreen by DP Barbara Alvarez (THE HEADLESS WOMAN), it resembles a cross between a minimalist
Sergio Leone western and a series of photos by Sebastião Salgado.
The story at the heart of the film… is more than just a coffee-table-book view of indigenous culture; it’s a powerful and cautionary tale of survival in a dying world. With its bare-bones storyline, scant dialogue and long tracking shots of the cracked-earth Aliplano… the sort of slow-cinema-type film that was still able to find favor in art houses during the pre-Covid era. The term climate change is never used in the movie… (A) small-scale drama against a grandiose barren backdrop… Convincingly, and sometimes movingly, optimistic.”
– Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

“Through the love story at the heart of this visually arresting feature debut, UTAMA offers the audience a relatable connection with a way of life that is on the verge of extinction. The risk of any film taking the photogenic simplicity of peasant lifestyles as its subject is that it slips into ethnographic romanticisation. UTAMA avoids this by foregrounding a harshness and desperation that balances the calendar-photo appeal of the llamas.
– Wendy Ide, Screen International

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UTAMA

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