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The mountains close in more and more tightly, and it seems as though there’s no longer any hope. Only a bit of sky is visible directly above our heads. lt has a disheartening effect on us. We are overwhelmed and keep silent. Suddenly at a sharp turn in the road, a huge chasm opens up on our right, and quite close to us, we see the ice-covered peak of Mount Kazbek with its glaciers sparkling white in the sun. lt is cheek by jowl with us, placid and tall, mute. A mysterious feeling courses through us. The cliff stands there as if conjured up by the other cliffs. We feel as though a being from another world is looking at us.

The Loneliest Planet (2011), a film by Julia Loktev.

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The Loneliest Planet (2011) - Directed by Julia Loktev (8/10)

This film would be very easy for me to criticize and I went into it thinking there’s a large possibly I would hate it (judging by reviews and comments I have read) and it’s perfectly understandable why a lot of people do not enjoy it. Luckily I’m always open minded about everything I watch and I’m really glad I finally got around to watching it.

The film looks at the relationship of an engaged couple backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains and how certain actions can dramatically change it. I got completely invested in the characters and their relationship and instead of getting frustrated by the long shots and little to no dialog, I embraced it. The film is beautifully shot and the acting is great from both leads (Gael García Bernal, Hani Furstenberg). Maybe I enjoyed it more because of my love for traveling and hiking? The film made me feel as if I was there with the them, everything felt very real. Watching their relationship throughout the movie and after the ‘main scene’ at the halfway point it is amazing to watch the emotions each of the characters go through and their reactions to themselves and each other and it brought on a strong impact to me. 

That’s not to say I don’t agree with some criticism. Some scenes could be cut in order to develop on the themes present in the movie, as I wish there had been just a little it more to the relationship of the characters to make the impact even stronger.

Anyway I’m terrible at expressing the way I feel about films and this is why I never write reviews.  

Possible spoilers: I also love that the film provides discussion about a lot issues for instance, would it not be shocking if the roles were reversed? How would we react and what would we do if confronted with this situation?

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CB 152:  Julia Loktev’s “The Loneliest Planet,” 2012.

Nica:  What did they want?

Nica’s question, which Dato their guide silently eludes with a wave of his hand, is the only verbal acknowledgement of the traumatic sequence at the heart of The Loneliest Planet.  His solemn reaction reads as “it doesn’t matter / what’s done is done” and the remainder of their journey plays out more like a funeral march than a lovers’ getaway; all this despite being net positive one pair of sunglasses by the end of the film.

I found myself at a momentary loss when attempting to explain to someone what this film was about.  Not because it was bereft of meaning, but rather because there’s so little dialogue and explicit discussion of the underlying themes that I was almost embarrassed to make any grand declarations.  It’s a film about modern gender norms!  It’s a film about masculinity!  It’s a critique of feminism!  But probably not!  Or maybe it’s a film about hiking.  This certainly isn’t a critique or a call for more descriptive subtitles; The Grey:  A Film About Wolves & Snow.  It’s The Loneliest Planet’s ability to quietly dance around it’s central issue while simultaneously feeling like an exhaustive debate that makes it so compelling.