Still no one understands the reasons why ‘Eureka’the new film from the Argentine Lisandro Alonso, is included in Cannes Prèmiere and not in the official section of the Cannes Film Festival. It is without a doubt one of the most original and overwhelming works of the contestdedicated to overcoming the contours of space/time that define our way of being in the cinema and in existence.
The 140 minutes of ‘Eureka’ once again confirm the Argentine filmmaker as one of the voices that best understands contemporary times, without the need to raise causes or flags. Rather, his cinema translates the tensions of the present into images, making use of a narrative organicity that seems from another world. Not surprisingly, his new film borders on shamanic worlds and tells us about spells and metamorphosis.
In ‘Eureka’ nothing is what it seems, because Alonso seeks to challenge the medium itself and the viewer by extension. A marvelous prologue that links ‘Eureka’ with ‘Jauja’, through Viggo Mortensen, reminds us, as Magritte already did, of the idea of uncertainty inherent in images. The Argentinian makes us believe that we are going to see a western in the manner of the classics, but we will soon see that the production is a parodic twist.
In truth, ‘Eureka’ seeks rewrite the legacy of Native American peoples and map their territory from a narrative diptych on the north of the continent and on the south, covering all that space thanks to a spell that only cinema, for the moment, is capable of. From South Dakota to the Brazilian Amazon, from ‘Fargo’ to ‘Tropical Malady’.
The first installment of ‘Eureka’ follows police officer Alaina (Alaina Clifford) in her daily routine on the Pine Ridge, South Dakota reservation, and Sadie (Sadie Lapointe), mentor, teacher, coach basketball and one of the best characters in this Cannes. Alaina has to face the precariousness of the media with which she works, while Sadie has her brother in jail.
You both start the day together and your actions will unravel as your story progresses, gradually fading into the very heart of the story. Sadie looks for Alaina at the police station to take her home, but the police officer does not answer the switchboard calls. Like a shamanic mantrathe protagonist’s partner does not cease in his efforts to find her, repeating over and over “1-4-7-dispatch”.
Frozen in their seats by the rhythm of the police call and by the snowy landscape à la ‘Fargo’ photographed by Timo SalminenAlonso puts his own cinema to the test in this magnificent first part of the film. With hardly any action and exploring the concept of time, the Argentine seems interested in capturing an image of an almost absent space and community, as if transforming them into ghosts.
‘Eureka’: the gold curse
We are not going to reveal in these lines the magic twist that allows you to jump from the north to the south of the American continent, the scene of the second part of ‘Eureka’, but pointing out that little sequence starring an indigenous person is undoubtedly one of the moments of the festival.
The second section of ‘Eureka’ returns to the most conventional narrative to follow a young man who leaves his jungle community to end up working on a jungle gold mine. His destiny, there is not much doubt about it, will be marked by ambition of white culture.
Although the film does not cease to be, deep down, an initiation story and an awareness of colonial exploitation by Europeans, all of this is subject to some forms that try to emancipate themselves and gain their own flight. Perhaps for some Alonso is not able to shape all these claims, but the undersigned here is still under the spell of his proposal.
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