Japon | Chicago Reader


Contemplating suicide, a gaunt and nameless middle-aged man leaves the city for a remote mountain village, where he's given lodging by an old woman. An erotic relationship develops between them, which leads to an unexpected death. This first feature (2002) from Mexican writer-director Carlos Reygadas strains to be allegorical (is the man a Christ figure, or is she an earth goddess who redeems him?) and lards the picture with stylistic homages to Andrei Tarkovsky and Werner Herzog. Synchronized to the solemn, prayerful music of Arvo Pärt, Reygadas's long takes and slow pans of lush landscape in 16-millimeter CinemaScope are moodily evocative, but can't mask the weak narrative and obscure characters. In Spanish with subtitles. 122 min.

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