Movie Review – Altiplano

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Altiplano is a heavily melancholic film. It has brilliant camera work all around which makes our object of interest keep changing. To quote an example we see camera zooming in to the back of a lady who looks like being imprisoned. Then we hear the terrorist shouting out to someone to kill someone. We now see the camera slowly turning to the face of the woman who now doesn’t seem to be imprisoned but has a camera in her hand. So the ‘shoot’ that we hear is not the ‘shoot’ of a gun, instead ‘shoot’ of a camera. Hesitantly she draws up her camera to shoot a picture. When she is instructed to shoot the picture, at the exact moment a youngster is shot. The outcome of it is a brilliant picture which wins her a Pulitzer price but she withdraws it because of the guilt. Without thinking about the background story of the photograph, anyone who sees the photograph would rave about it. That’s how brilliant the photograph it is. And from the flashback and her delusions while seeing the picture we come to know that the person who got killed is her guide for long.

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On the other hand we see a ceremony happening where two children wear sun and moon mask for the procession. When coming out of the church the children see shiny silver droplets being filled over the surface and start running towards it, in the process breaking the Virgin Mary’s statue which is being carried upon. A young Native American woman goes and talks to the person who takes care of the statue and rebuilds it. Again we are cheated by the camera work. I guessed that he was blind in the very first scene but the guessing there gave me immense satisfaction. Even if I had not guessed that he was blind I’d have known about his blindness during the later part of the movie, I still would have been happy for the way I was cheated.

Altiplano is about these two women’s mourning life. Grace the photographer and Saturina the Native American. Grace lives her life in a desolate place but Saturina is a happy woman in the beginning because she is going to get married soon. Graces husband sets up a cataract clinic near Peru to help treat the villagers near Altiplano were Saturina stays.

Off late there have been an increasing number of people who suffer from eye infections. But being a cataract specialist he is not able to treat Saturinas mother. Saturina gets annoyed thinking that they are against the village. But Grace’s husband is genuinely concerned about his patients and wants to find out the conspiracy behind the eye infections. He goes there to the village after Saturina’s fiancés death to see what it is but is stoned to death by the villagers thinking that he is part of the people who had set up factory there and are plundering their wealth.

Grace meanwhile comes to Altiplano in search of his husbands’ soul and finds a shocking video of Saturina’s death being videotaped in Grace’s husbands’ camera which the Saturina’s brother took while the villagers stoned the doctor to death. It’s one of the most shocking scenes you’d see on screen. Seeing her death Grace gets to know what exactly has caused so many villagers to go blind.

The point in explaining the story so detailed is you got to know that you’re not watching something useless because I felt the same while watching the movie. I didn’t know where it was going but when the movie was over and when I write about it I could see that not even a single scene is forced so that it can be interlinked. It’s as if every action of one has an equal and opposite reaction to someone’s life that is totally unrelated to you. You can’t find a single loose link to the movie. I’m sure even Inurritu would appreciate it and would heed to what I’m saying.

Altiplano is a sad movie. If you’re depressed it’d make you even depressed but it tells you the fact of life. How practical an art movie could be made. How well refined are women’s thoughts. The films doesn’t draws you to a conclusion too but helps you understand that it’s the way of nature. Some are against it without even knowing why they are. When both the parties firmly believe that what they are doing is right will we able to stop them anytime?

I liked the way the issue was handled in the movie. It doesn’t put an on your face remark on the people who like in city. It just says the facts without abusing anyone or glorifying anyone. The important thing is it’s not propaganda. It’s preposterous to put ones facts on others face instead it tells how things are looked upon by different people of different culture.

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