Film Review. Altiplano by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth.

Breathtaking, expansive and emotional. Altiplano is a film set in the Peruvian Andes that really portrays the region as it is. This is not a Peru that the tourist sees. It is a film that covers in a way too many topics about Peru that many will be lost on the viewer and most reviewers it seems, but it redeems itself in other ways. With faith, belief and redemption as it’s main theme it delves deeply into Andean culture like no other film or documentary that I have seen has. From the opening scene when the statue of the Virgin Mary crashes to the ground and the locals take it as a bad omen, to the Virgins rebirth at the end the mood is set.  Altiplano is a film that will have you captivated and enthralled,  loosely based on the Mercury contamination by a mining company in a small Peruvian village which had tragic consequences. This is not a documentary or a travel film far from it. Having lived among these people and experienced first hand many of the rituals in the film, I found it both enlightening and disturbing at the same time you become part of a different culture for it’s duration and that is what a  good film should do.

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“Saturnina”  Magaly Solier  is wonderful as the lead actress.

First rate cinematography and it’s  setting make you feel as you are there among  the locals living their reality in a barren and harsh land that god seems to have forgotten about. The acting is first rate, dialog is kept to a minimum and each of the main characters are seen to be both emotionally hard and soft. I realise that Brosens has tried to show us the Andes as he has seen it but in many ways the film fails to do this… you can not understand it unless you have seen it first hand. There is far too much symbolism, ritual and realism that the average westerner will go yeah right… sure thing they don’t do that! (Warning spoiler!) Well folks they do and I can guarantee you that everything in this film is 100% accurate right down to when the lead actress commits revenge suicide and then at her funeral they throw the dice to see if she goes to heaven or hell. I came away from this film with one thought pessimism. Co director Brosens talked after the film and I understood his point of view that all this is an everyday occurrence there… life goes on there can only be faith and hope. Yet for me it is more about who cares and who… if anybody is doing anything about these things happening in the poor parts of the world. That is the unanswered question here.  Highly recommended, if you get the chance to see it then do! The trailer can be seen here Altiplano

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