Cert: 12A Year: 2022 Length: 87 mins Language: Quechua and Spanish
Cinema Handout (PDF 61KB)
Score: 73.68% Attendance: 95
The winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2022: "Bolivian director Alejandro Loayza Grisi started his career as a photographer then turned to cinematography; now he makes his feature debut with this slow and beautiful-looking drama set high on the Andean plateau.
Utama opens with the staggeringly gorgeous image of an elderly man walking towards the sun rising golden over mountains. This is Virginio, whose weathered face is as cracked as the earth beneath his feet. Virginio spends his days tramping across the plain grazing his flock of fluffy llamas; he and his wife Sisa live without running water or power. They are a couple in real life, non-professionals discovered by Grisi as he drove around scouting locations. You can see that closeness in every gesture, in Sisa's arthritic fingers tenderly patting her husband's hand.
It's Sisa's job to fetch water while Virginio grazes the llamas. The trouble is that rain has stopped coming to the region; the village well has dried up. "Time has gotten tired," a friend tells Virginio, to explain the drought. But the truth is that climate change is making life unbearable – not that global warming is ever spoken about.
In fact, until the couple's grandson Clever shows up wearing a hoodie, we could just as easily be watching a film set in the 1920s as the 2020s. Clever wants his grandparents to move to the city with the rest of the family. What he fails to understand is that the question for Virginio and Sisa is not where to live, but where to die. And when they are gone, there will be no one left in the family to speak the indigenous Quechua language or live their way of life. It's a gentle and superbly shot film" – Cath Clarke, Guardian.
[A] beautifully realized feature debut...
Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
If you only see one film about Bolivian llama farmers this year, make it Utama. David Hughes, Time Out
A film of dazzling visual power and genuine poignancy. Glenn Kenny, Rogerebert.com
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