photo-op situation and then to a family gathering and grieving amidst some lush greenery and gorgeous European architecture.
Our filmmakers are Peter Brosens (shown at extreme right) and Jessica Woodworth (near right), a duo who, back in 2006, gave us the Mongolian classic Khadak, comparisons to which are apt. While their camera and the people they observe generally move at a measured pace (even in the scene of middle-eastern terror), we are still quickly thrust into three very different landscapes and situations that we soon perceive to be somehow linked.
This slow pacing is both hypnotic and unsettling, while the photog-
raphy here is beautiful and compelling, due to its exquisite compo-
sition and its use of color and light (at times reminiscent of the "old masters") -- as befits a film in which "images" (religious and otherwise) are all-important. These include not just the brilliant view of the ceremony that begins the movie (shown just below),
Magaly Solier, shown on poster at top and two photos below, star of The Milk of Sorrow) and the daughter's fiancé; the war photographer (Jasmin Tabatabai, above and below, left) grieving over the very ill-use of her trigger finger; and her husband (Olivier Gourmet, below, right, the Belgian go-to guy for just about any role), who here becomes an eye doctor working in a nearby area of the Andes to that in which our Indian family resides.
As it goes along, the film and its images become increasingly symbolic -- and rightfully so. Reality, as most of us know it, has been left far behind. But as the images --- such as the clothes of a dead man burning on a rock (shown at bottom) -- are often as strange as they are riveting, the viewer eventually lets go of conventional habits of mind and eye. And as for theatrical death scenes, Altipano offers one that would do Shakespeare proud. And yet, as it turns out, this death is absolutely meant to be theatrical.