Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How Much Further Movie Review

Qué Tan Lejos (2006) is a Spanish film taking place in, and about, Ecuador. This movie tries to cover a lot of ground; it shows the Ecuadorian countryside, touches on political/historical items, and has a little entertainment value.

The story starts out with Esperanza getting off a plain and Tristeza finishing up school. Tristeza (Sadness) finds out the guy she thought she was dating is getting married and must get to Cuenca to stop the wedding. When she gets on the bus she is seated next to Esperanza (Hope) who is on holiday. A short while later the bus stops because the road is closed due to a strike of some sort miles away.

They decide to hitchhike their way there. They get in the back of a truck with some weird TV guys heading to shoot the strike; this only gets them part way because of a burning log in the road. They go on foot making their way through the country and running into Jesus who is also headed to Cuenca to spread his grandmother's ashes in the Tombebamba River. The walking continues and they pass through Alausi where Tristeza gets on the back of some guys motorcycle to go ahead.

Jesus and Esperanza end up getting a ride with Andres who turns out to be Jesus' cousin and is going for a wedding (same wedding?). They meet up with Tristeza in Zhud but can not go once again because of another roadblock. They head towards the beach in the hopes of getting there a round about way. Will they ever make it and has their journey taught them anything?

Throughout the entire film there are references to interesting places, people, and dates; almost a travel guide in movie form. I was hoping for a ending to remember that never materialized - just fizzled away without much closure of anything.

5 out of 10 for entertainment and a 5.5 out of 10 as a piece on Ecuador. It felt as is Tania Hermida (director/writer) was torn between doing a fictional film or a documentary; she settled on both and tried to make it work. I got more of a lesson on life in Ecuador than an entertaining movie. Perhaps that was the goal - if so I would have liked to see it changed up with more robust facts and details about the country. There were long stretches of time when nothing more than driving in silence occurred that could have been shrunk down to beef up the content. Skip this one unless you or your relatives are or were from Ecuador; could be interesting if that is the case. Has English subtitles.

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