27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This entertaining film deserved better than the lukewarm reviews it received on initial release. The Guardian's two star review simply described it as unsatisfying and unconvincing. It seems to be more notable as singer Duffy's acting debut! Whilst it does tend to stray a little into 'cloud cuckoo land' towards the end, it is still a very good film from a talented and well meaning director. Son of Camarthen Marc Evans surely has a first in a film where the only spoken languages are Welsh and Spanish. The lure of a film shot in Patagonia and Wales was too great for me to resist. Throw in the added interest of the Welsh historical connection, which I was aware of, and it was an absolute must. The vast Patagonian vistas did not disappoint, and neither did the film.
The film focuses on people connected to 'Y Wladfa' the Welsh settlement in Patagonia. The strands are intelligently woven together by following a young Welsh couple from Cardiff on their visit to Argentina. Photographer Matthew Gravelle visits to photograph the windswept little Welsh chapels of Patagonia accompanied by his girlfriend, played by Brecon beauty Nia Roberts. The two battle difficult personal issues which are exacerbated when Nia meets handsome Welsh-Patagonian rancher Matthew Rhys. Meanwhile in this two stranded road movie, Argentinian Spanish speaking octogenarian Cerys decides to visit her mothers birthplace on a farm in Wales accompanied by a neighbours son. This unlikely pair are given a right royal Welsh runaround before eventually closing in on their destination.
I have to say that I really got into this film ealy on, and it managed to hold my interest throughout as I became involved with the characters. The Argentinian pair who were stereotypical 'strangers in a strange land' provide the films good humour and pathos. Their burgeoning relationship reminded me of the one in the lovely Brazilian film "Central Station", between a young boy and a jaded middle aged woman. There is so much warmth to be found in both relationships. The thoughtful relationship in Argentina seems to be more an excuse to enjoy the stunning scenery and an unashamedly fine advertisement for Argentinian tourism. The scenery incidentally is beautifully filmed with some memorable shots. The film is well acted, well scripted and well shot. The only thing that stops me from dishing out five stars is the films melodramatic and implausible ending. You will have to watch the scene on the lake to see if you agree with me! This aside it was a very enjoyable film. A real surprise package, that was much better than expected. It seems young Duffy can act a bit too! Certainly worth catching, even if your not Welsh! If you are a reader I can recommend Bruce Chatwin's little travel masterpiece "In Patagonia", which covers that area quite beautifully.
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2011
Such an interesting migration story. A beautiful film that leaves you with goosebumps from start to finish. Great ties with Welsh History. A slow but loving and intense movie that I recommend.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2011
I found 'Patagonia' visually stunning. And though I've only watched less than 10 Blu-ray HD films to date compared with many DVDs, this is the first film to really have me appreciate Blu-ray 1080p.
'Patagonia' is a visual, cinematographic tableaux. A sequence of beautiful, fetching pieces of footage connected together in making a story. 'Patagonia' is kind of a visual version of Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts', which is a cinematic dramatic tableaux, made up of stories spliced together, later superficially relating only. There's only one, continuous story (with 2 unrelated strands) in 'Patagonia', as opposed to the mostly different stories in 'Short Cuts'.
The removedness and spontaneity of the basis of the story is important in the whole concept and effect. A pair of friends suddenly leaving Argentina for Wales and a couple suddenly, romantically leaving Wales for Argentina on work but as if eloping. This adds to the notion of each piece of footage as well as the linked sequences being gorgeously random captures of life and the world, random forays in life on this world. Perhaps under the delightful god of randomness, value, truth and self, whom is lurking between the grass for us to find in life. (The plot echoes the visual randomness and spontaneity.)
The cinematography is a real treat, that's how this film succeeds, it does amazingly, and indeed that's actually what this film is - cinematography. I feel that the attempt to take it as anything else or even much as anything additional would be misjudged and it would not succeed well that way.
The story is not deeply created, therefore, its simple and its the visual representation that matters, the impression. The actors do very well in this way.
While some may disagree, I have to say, if you think you can appreciate this film separately to the visual item it is, I don't feel it works that way. I watched it a second time, and had my picture quality settings altered, and was more drawn in to the drama, forgetting the totality and gorgeous effect of the visual impression, but it was not working that way. There is not enough there for the film to work that way, and I must conclude it is not supposed to. When watching first time, it was clear to me that the actors were utterly complicit in being in an artistic visual, cinematographic work, and they each, distinctly, succeeded remarkably. However, turn the screen lights down and try to view the film as a significant drama, it would probably please first time around, but would not be such a significant film, hardly bearing rewatching.
It's really a visual piece, that is how it works, even to the extent of being comparable to animation. (The scene with the young Argentinian man being taken out to see the Welsh city night life is most demonstrative of this visual, almost animation-esque style. That's how those Welsh characters act even, to suggest this.)
While, I don't know, some of the cast seem to annoy me and others I'm pleased to have caught in this film they all do remarkably well in the context of a visual, cinematographic tableaux. (I can't actually fault any of them, I'm just stating I don't feel I personally like some of them.)
This is a real highlight in the movie world of cinematography and editing. (It's also a great credit to the actors that they heighten the effect of this while, of course, contributing up a great deal of the visual impact of the film, and then the emotional impact of the film after that. It's a great formula. Great commendation here.)
Duffy's singing is a bonus, I say as someone who doesn't really like the typical blues standards she has released singles of. Here, she sings gorgeously, away from the blues. The only disappointment was that Duffy was only singing the title music (though she is a great actor in the film also, in a small part).
BUT the soundtrack during the film is really gorgeous anyway. I have to get the disc.
There are a few niggles I have with the editing of this film, occasionally, which perhaps prevent it from being an out and out masterpiece. But without doubt to me, as an essay in cinematography, it is great and a five star film.
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2011
I have just seen this film at the cinema and it kept me spellbound. I didn't even notice that they weren't talking in English(its Welsh & Spanish, sub-titled) the film is so well written and directed that it flows really well.
Slow and very intense, 2 stories running in parallel - a Petagonian grandma cheats her grandson into going back to the Welsh farm she remembers as a child and a Welsh photographer and his partner travel to Petagonia to take pictures of Welsh Chapels.
Each storyline is encapturing and quite emotional and everybody in the audience came away saying how wonderful the film was. I can't wait to get my own copy in July.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2011
It was true... It is a tender and moving film. One of those films that left you thinking and while doing this, you keep discovering delicate details that fill the whole idea of the film with a beautiful sense of purpose. The purpose of telling a story, the purpose of discovering the beauty of a place and the purpose of identifying in the characters a little bit of yourself.
Beautiful photography. Beautiful music. Great acting by everyone. Wacky and colourful sense of humour.
Well done Marc Evans and everyone acting in the film. Wonderful work. Thank you!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2012
This film does ask the viewer to make some quite large leaps of faith in the script however with a little patience you will be rewarded with a film that tackles issues of identity and belonging, love and betrayal and perhaps one of the most difficult themes to touch our lives, forgiveness ...... of ourselves and others.
I have spent some time in South America and I'm familiar with the close ties with Europe that are only 3 or 4 generations old and the conflict of belonging to two cultures at the same time and the process of letting go of the past and embracing the present. I think of all the immigration that is taking place in the UK at the moment and the difficulties many people must experience living in a different culture. Of course, so many immigrants leave their homes and families in search of a better life in distant lands only to discover that their imagination of a new life and the reality are very often poles apart.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I watched this film with no preconceptions at all, because I didn't know a thing about it at all and had bought it as a birthday present. Sometimes the best things in life are like this, pleasant surprises that delight you and make you feel good inside, and this film definitely made me feel good and I am glad I bought it and glad I watched it.
It's a road movie with a difference; it's two connected stories, connected only in the sense that both stories are related to Wales and Welsh people. One story is the descendant of a Welsh settler to Patagonia going 'back home' to Wales, a country she's never been to before and with hardly any of the Welsh language at her grasp, and the other story is a Welsh couple going to explore the vastness of Patagonia which is a part of Argentina. In 1865 about 150 Welsh settlers left Wales, going from Liverpool, to start a new life in Patagonia to get away from the English subjugation (yes sadly that seems to have still been going on then) and the low wages of the coal mines. They wanted to find paradise in their new home, but did they? I think their descendants are doing well now but those early settlers had a struggle, a real struggle. Of such, legends are born.
The way both stories intertwine with each other is very clever, and both Wales and Patagonia never looked more beautiful; this is certainly the Welsh Tourist Board's dream I think! So, a little of the story, but not too much as it's worth seeing the film; the first involves an old lady and her neighbour's grandson(?) who decide to explore Wales to find the old farm that her mother left all those years back to come to Patagonia. They explore Wales by bus and meet various characters on their way, some nice and some crazy, as you'll see. In the end, the old lady never leaves Wales... The second story is a Welsh couple who are having trouble conceiving and are travelling around Patagonia to photograph old Welsh churches around the wastes of Patagonia. After a misunderstanding, the Welsh girl runs off with a Patagonian, and the guy disappears and gets drunk in a bar... at the end, they do I think get back together... and the old lady in the other story finds her heart's desire.
This is a film I thoroughly enjoyed; I love road movies of all kinds anyway, from 'Wild Strawberries' by Ingmar Bergman, to 'the Motorcycle Diaries'. There's a sense in this film that each person will find what it is they are looking for, even though they have to go on a journey to find it, whatever 'it' is. There's a dreamer in all of us, and we all want to find our dreams; that's the message of this film I think: go and search for your dreams, you just might find them...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2012
Patagonia [DVD] This film was so different from what I expected. Two journeys through contrasting countries, wonderfully filmed and acted. The sub-titles were efficient for those of us who do not speak the native languages of Wales and Patagonia. It is well worth watching a second or third time.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2012
Love the mix of Welsh and Patagonian scenery, language (Spanish and Welsh), music and a gentle story. One to share.
The product arrived in time and great condition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2014
'Patagonia' is a film directed by Marc Evans, providing a unique
insight into two cultures that you wouldn't have ever considered to
co-exist. I wasn't aware that Patagonia is a Welsh settlement in
Argentina, since the mid 19th century where Welsh citizens were invited
by the Argentine government to come to live in Patagonia. Miraculously,
Patagonia still retains its Welsh community and is still thriving.
The film is anchored by two stories, one spoken in Welsh and the other
in Spanish, where both sets of people are searching for their
identities. Rhys (Matthew Gravelle) is a photographer assigned with
capturing the essence of Patagonia, and takes his girlfriend Gwen (Nia
Roberts) for a working holiday. Travelling in the opposite direction is
the elderly Argentinian Cerys (Marta Lubos) who wants to trace her
ancestors before she dies, and misleads the unwitting teenage Alejandro
(Nahaul Perez Biscayart) to come with her.
The photography is stunning, with some wonderful scenes of the
contrasts between the lush green hills of Northern Wales and the dusty
deserts of the Patagonian landscapes. Both sets of couples experience
various states of discomfort and joy in trying to find themselves,
providing a nice balance between them which makes the film work.
'Patagonia' may often be cliché-ridden, sentimental and implausible but
there is a warmth to the characters, especially Cerys and Alejandro,
which is often very touching. Its one of those films which tugs on your
emotions more than your imagination, and forces you to sit down and
just enjoy watching an interesting sequence of events.