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A Film Diary

Watched: 13 November

A quiet, slow film by Lisandro Alonso about an Argentinian sailor who works aboard a freight vessel, and the long journey he makes during shore leave in order to see his family (though just to be clear, it’s set in Argentina, and the title is a reference to the port city the sailor has travelled from). The more pronounced stylistic flourishes of Alonso’s superb 2014 film Jauja – the only other work of his that I’ve seen – are nowhere to be seen here, but there are plenty of well-crafted shots of the sailor travelling that show off the Argentinian landscape and also plenty that allow the eye to dart around interior, cramped spaces, such as bars and houses and his quarters on the ship. Reading other people’s comments about this film on Letterboxd has proven illuminating, and it would seem that despite its modest, economical nature it has been interpreted in many different ways, and it’s a film in which different viewers have found different meanings. I enjoyed it simply as a low-key film about a man’s journey and the effect that his reappearance has on other family members. (***)

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