We love things that are a little different here, and the trailer for Lisandro Alonso’s Jauja is certainly different. Alonso has a reputation for pushing the boundaries a little bit, and making movies that are a bit more ‘artsy’ but this time he’s got a more universally known star, Viggo Mortensen to take the leading role, which is sure to give his bizarre and trippy Western Jauja a little more appeal.
The film is set in the late 1800’s, during a time famous in Argentine history when they were attempting to gain control of Patagonia from the indigenous tribes who lived there. It was a brutal time in the nations history, and the crimes committed were similar to those of the crusades or other historical horrors. However, it appears that this is just the backdrop for the films bizarre story. We follow an engineer from Denmark who arrives with his daughter to work on a project. His daughter is only 15 and immediately causes a stir among all of the men, who haven’t seen women in weeks. One soldier in particular takes a shine to her, and they run off together, which seems to lead to her disappearance. The rest of the film would appear to be Mortensen’s character and his strange journey through the desert to find her, which takes him through a world that is perhaps not quite reality, and which transcends time. What that means exactly, I really don’t know, but I’m curious to find out.
The film is visually striking, with a very old fashioned look and a bizarre narrow, square shaped picture. That in itself is intriguing but Alonso is known for making films with very little narrative pull, but that somehow manage to engage and hold an audience. A strong performance from a great leading actor, and some great scenery can certainly make this a possibility for a larger audience, and although the film is never going to be accepted by the masses, I’ll certainly be checking it out.
There is no set release date yet, but the film was picked up when it premiered at Cannes so it can’t be too far off.