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March 12 2024


Bolivia, Uruguay, France

2022, 87 mins.

Quechua, Spanish languages

English subtitles

Directed by Alejandro Loayza Grisi

This beautifully shot film is set in the Bolivian highlands where an elderly Quechua couple, Virginio and Sisa, live a simple life herding llamas. They are deeply connected to their land and their community and despite prolonged drought they are reluctant to give up their traditional way of life.

When their grandson, Clever, comes to visit, he encourages them to move to the city where life will be easier and where they will be surrounded by family and friends. Virginio is hesitant to leave his home, but Sisa is more open to the idea. She knows that their way of life is in danger and she is afraid of what will happen to them if they stay. In the end, the choice is whether or not to stay with the life they know and, in different ways, come to terms with their mortality.

Utama explores the impact of issues such as climate change, the tension between

tradition and modernity, the importance of community in periods of change and the challenges of ageing and death, without disrupting the straightforward narrative of a simple but heartfelt story, beautifully told against the backdrop of an extraordinary part of the world.

Utama was a winner at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in the Dramatic category.

David Mahoney

With thanks to Bard and Wikipedia

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