Most of the movie consists of the dialogues of an old Paraguayan Indian couple, Ramón and Cándida. These (uncannily true to life) dialogues are in Guaraní (the copy I saw had Spanish subtitles). They face the end of their hard lives and by tacit accord they have suppressed or modified episodes that are too terrible to contemplate or remember. For most of the movie we see and hear them speaking sitting in a hammock in a jungle clearing; they are small figures in a long shot (always the same except for ambient light) and their faces are barely visible. The other characters in the movies are only heard, not seen; in a shot we see Ramón sitting and we hear Cándida speaking with somebody (both off-screen). In another shot Cándida is sitting doing some chores and we hear a voice-over of herself and a postman corresponding to a recent episode in her life. The camera settings are static, and they are very few scene changes.
It is very seldom that we watch a completely original movie. This is one. Its minimalism somewhat reminds you of that of Argentine director Lisandro Alonso (he is thanked in the credits) but this movie is quite different from Alonso's work. It succeeds brilliantly; in spite of is slowness it grabs your attention from the beginning and leads you to an intensely moving ending.
Unfortunately the movie is not yet available in a Region 1 DVD. You mat catch it in festivals or in You Tube. It is a must-see, a movie that defies successfully every cinema convention, a work that invents its own language.
This is director Paz Encina second credit (the first is a short). It is deplorable that she has not made any movie since Paraguayan Hammock; we hope to see more of her work in the near future.
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