Land and Shade | Chicago Reader

Land and Shade

There are bleak films, and then there are absolutely desolate ones like this 2015 Colombian drama by César Acevedo. An old sugarcane farmer (José Felipe Cárdenas), summoned to care for his bedridden son, returns to his old homestead and the family he abandoned decades earlier; meanwhile, out in the fields, his estranged wife and daughter-in-law and their fellow laborers tangle with the exploitative company that (sometimes) pays them. Many whispered conversations in dark rooms and long takes of manual labor ensue. The film is beautifully composed and full of striking images, but Acevedo's ruthless depiction of hardship makes this hard to watch. In Spanish with subtitles.

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