The Lost City of Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as "savages," the determined Fawcett - supported by his devoted wife, son and aide de camp returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.
Principal photography on Lost City of Z began in August 2015, in Northern Ireland's breathtaking countryside. By October, however, Gray and his team had decamped for Santa Marta, Colombia, where cast and crew would endure a string of mishaps from flash floods and poisonous snakes to sweltering heat and humidity. The inhospitable rainforest environment helped cast and crew to channel Fawcett's adventure. "It was hot, it was buggy, it was uncomfortable and I actually think that was a blessing," recalls Grann, who visited the set in Colombia. "I think it was important to have some sense of what Fawcett actually experienced when they were performing these scenes." See more »
Many of the many torches used by the indigenous people encountered in the final expedition are modern "tiki torches" and the metal fuel canisters in them are clearly visible in several shots. See more »
You don't care about us, you don't even care about going home. You only care about your lost city.
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This is a wonderful film that restores faith in the traditional art of movie making. Richly shot on 35mm by DoP Darius Khondji, every frame feels like an exquisite painting, carefully constructed by a filmmaker at the top of his game in James Gray. The backdrops of England, the Western Front and Amazonia all have interest on every inch of the screen and yet for all this color and texture, it is the characters that leave you thinking long after exiting the theater.
Charlie Hunnam, as Col. Percy Fawcett, is adequate and measured, but it is star turns from Sienna Miller (Percy's wife), Robert Pattinson (companion Henry Costin), and a ruddy cheeked and opulent Angus MacFadyen (wealthy explorer James Murray) that make the film. The haunting struggle and draw of the jungle and the world Percy leaves behind is revealed through committed portrayals of three dimensional characters who are both authentic to their era and yet still relevant in 2017. And that is the theme that is so skillfully woven throughout the film by Gray, the conflict of portraying the "other" as whole and independent in a world that simplifies and condescends. That Gray could make a story about an early 20th Century British explorer resonate so profoundly with the world we live in today, shows that this is his finest work to date.
All lovers of cinema should see it, but anyone able see it from a beautiful 35mm print should definitely not miss the opportunity. This is filmmaking as it is supposed to be.
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