«When the majestic condor does no longer feel useful, it prepares its own death» - Virginio
Premiering at this year’s edition of Sundance Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize, Utama has continued to collect awards everywhere it has been screened since. Most recently at the Transilvania Film Festival where it won the audience award and the award for best film. With the story located in the Bolivian part of the Altiplano, the director’s first feature is an incredible first feature.
Virginio is an aging Quechua farmer living in the Bolivian Highlands that every morning through the year shepards his lamas over great distances. But the earth is scorched and the intensity of the sun is tearing on him, more and more every day. At home, his wife Sisa is doing her daily routines, among them getting water from the village. But a mining company has made the water supplies very difficult. When their grandson Clever comes for a visit, his main objective is to take them away from their home to the city. But convincing them to do so proves to be a challenge.
Director Grisi has his background from photography, which is on display in the amazing panorama images of the Bolivian highlands. It brings to mind the westerns in the vein of John Ford and Sergio Leone, but this is simultaneously a very current description of how climate change is affecting these lands.
Alejandro Loayza Grisi is educated as a photographer and has previously worked on the documentary Planeta Bolivia and several short films such as Aicha, Dochera and Polvo. His first short film as director is Laberinto which came out in 2017, before he wrote and directed Utama.
This film is part of
Original title Utama
Country Bolivia, Uruguay, France
Director Alejandro Loayza Grisi
Screenplay Alejandro Loayza Grisi
Cinematography Barbara Alvarez
Producer Frederico Moreira, Marcos Loayza
Cast José Calcina, Luisa Quispe, Candelaria Quispe, Placide Ali, Félix Ticona, Santos Choque
Runtime 1h 37m
Age limit A
This film is in competition for the Audience Award.