this delightful film has plenty of pleasant surprises. until now i have not seen any columbian movies. but this one illustrates that outside of hollywood & other film-dominating countries, world-class film-makers do exist elsewhere.
to truly enjoy & appreciate this film, one has to abandon any pre-existing or subjective view or expectation, in order to know this film w/ a fresh start.
the storyline is simple. 2 main characters. film techniques are basic: wide angle, medium & tele shots, plus some camera tracking. the journey is punctuated w/ stunning landscapes, portrait of people & culture in villages, relation between the 2 characters, happenings & incidents, & mysteries that are gradually brought up & explained as the film goes along.
i can feel the “wind”, to me they are accordion (music), blowing wind (harsh environment), winding (journeys) & second wind (restored effort in life). i can also feel for the uplifting ending, which pushes away all the previously negative connotations in the film (deceased wife, no more interest in music or living, don’t want to teach accordion), but alludes to passing on the accordion (music? heritage? life?) to the young generation.
i admire the elegant, subtle, yet succinct & effective approach that director ciro guerra has taken to make this film. to emulate the idiom that everyone knows, i submit that the film is not about the journey itself, but about the motivations (old man: “stop the devil accordion”, teenager: “learn drumming & be famous”) & efforts (the merits of musical/cultural heritage, embrace of the environment) for getting to the destination. if u like music, nature, traditional values, & emotion/identity not induced by CGI, this film is for u!
The more time passes since seeing this movie, the more it stays with me. It could be construed as another "road" movie, where the protagonist has a purpose (returning the accordion) and the story unfolds from there. What I particularly liked was the use of long shots when another director might have gone in for a closer view. The landscapes of Columbia were also beautiful to see, and the native languages interesting to hear.
The character of Fermin seemed forced sometimes, but that could be how young men behave. The music helped carry the story. The participation of the villagers in some of the accordion contests was wonderful to see.
I didn’t mind this movie. The story was somewhat interesting and his journey through the Columbia country side and culture was very interesting but overall it was missing something especially with the ending. Great he has a reason for living now!!! Big deal....
There is a sequence where the lackey of a local mayor arrives in a jeep-like Nissan (not a model ever sold in Canada, and not anywhere for a long time). In the middle of nowhere, the lackey asks the accordionist to play for a party. It would be for the mayor, it would pay well. The accordionist refuses and the lackey departs. Otherwise, this is a film without visual evidence of technology of any kind. It could be story set in any decade, perhaps any century. This rambling story of a master (the accordionist) and his largely unwanted apprentice (the boy, who lacks any form of musical ability), has a minimalist plot that serves mainly as a means to go from one interesting vignette to another. It is similar, in that sense, to a Fred Astaire movie in which the plot serves only to get to the next dance number. There are interesting sequences of the boy attempting to chase down a rabbit at the behest of the accordionist, or where the boy allows himself to be beat up in his dogged pursuit of the accordion that he does not know how to play. The accordion competition sequence is a treat, with macho insults interwoven with dueling accordions (something as interesting as this sequence is unlikely to ever happen in any Canadian bar, with their ever present big-screen televisions). At the end, after almost 2 hours, one wonders what the message has been, other than that rural Columbia is indeed very windy, most of the people are very poor, and a skilled accordionist is very popular in this remote location where the sine quo non is that not much is going to happen.
This story of a seasoned accordion player who gave up his play after the death of his wife, and a young apprentice doggedly following him across the country, mostly on foot, to seek his art, is in my view not very credible. However, this shortcoming is offset by the trip itself, traversing a vast part of northern Columbia. So for me the cultural reward is very tangible. Overall an enjoyable film.
It's helps to like accordion music I guess--which I don't. "Perhaps there won't be much music", is what I told myself at the outset, but it turns out that any accordion music is too much for me. The cover image was lovely. There's hardly anything nicer to look at than an accordion with no one playing it.
A fascinating journey across Colombia's diverse geographical and cultural landscape. Slow pace, but emotionally powerful and richly cinematic. I enjoyed the movie every second.
A real gem from Columbia. Landscapes, music and actors were great.
Masterful direction and cinematography!
Excellent film, somehow in the spirit of Garcia Marquez...
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