Japón (2001)

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Director: Carlos Reygadas
Cast: Alejandro Ferretis, Magdalena Flores

Synopsis

An artist/intellectual hitches a ride to a remote canyon village where he intends to kill himself. There he lodges with an elderly widow whose nephew, recently returned from gaol, threatens to pull down her barn and remove the stones to his neighbouring village.

The Review

The bond of human kindness one expects to materialize from the concourse of these two characters never quite does so; one senses the cultural language barrier is simply too great. Instead we are treated to a very deliberate acquaintance with a point in time and space, where every stone reeks of mortality and snatches of Shostakovich's last symphony and the St Matthew Passion reinforce the point. The final tracking shot to Arvo Pärt's In Memoriam is the culmination of a succession of long takes in which the camera simply observes, often from the artist's viewpoint. The influences of Tarkovsky, Kiarostami and Erice are not far removed from this powerful film.