Utama, dir. Alejandro Loayza Grisi, Bolivia / Uruguay / France 2022, 87 min., Quechua / Spanish with English subtitles, 12A
An ageing couple face an uncertain future on an overheating planet in this beautiful debut feature by photographer-turned-filmmaker Alejandro Loayza Grisi, which won the Grand Jury Award for World Cinema at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Virginio and Sisa (José Calcina and Luisa Quispe, non-professional actors and a real-life couple) make their home miles above sea level on the unforgiving Bolivian high plains. When a fearsome drought threatens their existence, the pair must decide whether to stay on the Altiplano or decamp to the city in the company of grandson Clever (Santos Choque). But for this elderly Quechuan couple, the question isn’t just where to live but where, and how, to die. Staggering photography shot by award-winning cinematographer Bárbara Álvarez (The Fever, The Second Mother) lends both beauty and atmosphere to this quietly powerful reflection on life and ways of living.
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