The hamlet of Condor lies in the Puna grasslands of the northern highlands of Argentina, at some four thousand metres above sea level, close to the border with Bolivia. Here, a lama herder lives with his family. He and his son sell lama meat and wool in the closest city, which is still a long trip on foot and by bus. When the herd is threatened by a puma, the herder goes in search of the predator. According to local custom, he has to make an offering to the beast.
For his debut feature, Argentine cineaste Alejandro Tarraf, whose short El valle interior screened at IFFR in 2014, spent a lot of time in the remote area where he filmed. All of the main actors are local and more or less play themselves, placing Piedra sola at the intersection of fiction, documentary and ethnography. Tarraf was inspired by the local population and their everyday lives, infused with myth and mysticism. The Andean 'cosmovision', a centuries-old consciousness that offers a totally different perspective on reality from the Western view, is central to the herder's search for the invisible puma. Maybe it is not so much the puma he is looking for, but his ancestors.
In Piedra sola, Tarraf has made an honest, respectful portrait of a culture that is inextricably and organically bound to nature. The story is told in breathtaking landscapes and close-ups, often using natural light.