Perhaps too self-conscious a stab at a 'great' movie, Reygadas' debut is nevertheless an impressive, engrossing account of a man - a little lame, probably in his sixties, possibly an artist - who travels to a remote valley with thoughts of suicide. Renting a room in an elderly woman's house high above a village, he slowly rediscovers, through a tangle of unexpected emotions, the will to live. Little is explicit in this slow, measured, parable-like film; we're left to deduce motivation from a telling use of music (memorably the final movement from Shostakovich's 15th and Pärt's Cantus), landscape (shot in Super16 'Scope), and the performances of an almost wholly non-pro cast of local peasants. Mesmerising - even after one drunken actor hilariously shatters suspension of disbelief with a whinge about the crew.
Cast and crew
Carlos Reygadas Barquín