When a road movie contains two stories with characters travelling in opposite directions, usually it explores various contemporary aspects of globalisation. Not so in Marc Evans’ new feature where cross-over parallel pilgrimages focus on two linked communities in different continents that exist in spite of integration elsewhere.
With English influence/interference threatening the Welsh language and customs, nationalists formed a colony in Patagonia 150 years ago as a little Wales in pure form. The Welsh speaking community remains today almost as a post modern living museum of the nation’s heritage; a point not lost on the National Assembly of Wales, which has not been slow to develop promotional packages.
But a legacy from the past is not the same thing as identity, with the relationship between the two being complex and deceptive. Like separated siblings, there are powerful connections and notable differences as the territories evolve independently. It is a semi-fission that hangs heavy over Evans’ reflective and seemingly heartfelt personal film.
An ageing woman from the colony visits Wales, against the odds, desperately seeking a spiritual connection with her deceased mother before it is too late. A troubled photographer travels in the opposite direction searching for an understanding of his roots amongst the enigmatic historical churches of Patagonia. But the past proves elusive, unwilling to yield its secrets, only hinting at earlier times almost beyond their comprehension.
Both have companions who embark on personal journeys of their own; one a coming-of-age romance in the Welsh valleys for the lady’s attentive young carer and the other an illicit affair amongst the Patagonian lowlands literally under the nose of the silently suffering photographer. Happiness is fleeting for the companions in unfamiliar territories with cultural ties proving stronger than personal attachments; we sense the unseen hand of history yanking at the leash.
The characters discover greater clarity but not necessarily self-fulfilment. The ideals of the past seem to stifle the colony and it is only in the homeland that Welsh culture comes alive in any meaningful way. Whether this was Evans’ intention when embarking upon the project is another matter but an upbeat final scene does nothing to transform the poignant tone running through the remainder of the film.
There are solid performances from all the cast including a short but very natural turn from Duffy as the love interest in the Wales story. And an especial mention goes to cinematographer, Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, Red Road) for the arresting imagery that superbly captures the austere splendour of the Patagonian terrain.
A welcome addition to the small collection of Welsh language movies that may prove to be a slow burner growing with popularity over time.why does cialis cost so muchgeneric cialis vs brand cialisyasmin 21 comprimidos yasmin for pcos generic for yasmin yasmin dosage