Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Eldorado XXI (2015) A Film by Salomé Lamas
"A muddy, trash-lined path snakes up a mountainside 18,000 feet about sea level in La Rinconada, Peru—the highest human settlement on Earth. Gold miners in hardhats and baggy canvas trudge wearily along this path as twilight gives way to pitch-dark night. The camera assumes a downward view, cramming the weave of the walkway into the widescreen frame so that it rises to the left in the foreground, tapers off to the right, and slopes toward the middle where there's a murky vanishing point. And with the exception of a handful of pre-credit establishing shots of snow-capped villages, this optically complicated but rather dramatically monotonous shot—over which the non-synchronous sounds of laborer monologues and regional radio programs are heard—constitutes the entire first hour of Salomé Lamas's Eldorado XXI, seemingly aligning the filmmaker's project with the durational landscape films of James Benning and Sharon Lockhart." Review continues at Slant.