Los muertos

  • 78'
  • Argentina
  • 2004
The emptiness is sublime in Los muertos, the second feature by Lisandro Alonso. This Argentinean film maker has completed a minimalist masterpiece on the fringes of cinematographic expression. In the opening scene, the camera's eye glides through an antediluvian jungle. Between the leaves, we catch sight of two dead boys and their murderer. Then the film takes a leap many years forward in time to the intriguing old man Vargas. His last day in jail has dawned and he is getting ready to taste freedom again. For the rest of the story, Vargas is on his way to his daughter who lives on an island in the jungle. A meditative boat trip in a tempo determined by the primary necessities for life. Vargas is trimmed by a barber, visits a whore and slaughters a wild goat on the way. In silence, he is one with the jungle and the river that takes him both forward and back in time. Apart from that, there is nothing but silence, the gruesome secret that Vargas bears with him and the viewer's nagging questions. Los muertos is a self-confident and daring film with an utterly original visual language. The experience of the physical reality of the journey is just as important as the metaphorical overtones. The river seems to lead towards the essence of Vargas, but eventually doesn't provide an answer. Right up until the end, one continues to wonder whether Vargas is a man of silent resignation or of latent bloodlust. It looks as if the jungle has wrapped up the past - until it opens its chops wide at the end of the film. (SdH)
Lisandro Alonso
Countries of production
Argentina, France, Netherlands
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2005
Fortuna Films, Slot Machine, ARTE France Cinéma, 4L, Lisandro Alonso
The Film Link
Lisandro Alonso
Lisandro Alonso
Production Design
Lisandro Alonso