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Review: La Libertad

The film is a penetrating peek into the daily life of a woodcutter from Argentina’s Pampa.

3.5
La Libertad
Photo: R/M Films

Lisandro Alonso’s La Libertad is a penetrating peek into the daily life of a woodcutter from Argentina’s Pampa. Misael Saavedra’s stoic figure marks trees, cuts them down, shaves them, and loads them onto trucks. In between, he finds time to sleep, eat, and defecate. The film brings to mind the humility and minimalism of Iranian cinema, and though Alonso doesn’t seem to use the woodcutter as a political pawn, the film’s long takes and the cyclical, labored nature of the man’s daily grind force the spectator to question the nature of freedom. The film’s music emphasizes the barrier between the woodcutter’s Walden and the material world that lays just outside. Pulsating techno accompanies the film’s opening title sequence while a dance track blaring from the woodcutter’s radio declares, “Un pocito mas duro.” Alonso’s use of silence is remarkably contemplative while his use of light and shadow serves to compliment the woodcutter’s serene relationship to nature. Lightning strikes as the woodcutter munches on an armadillo, staring directly at us as if daring us to question or challenge the integrity of his way of life.

Cast: Misael Saavedra, Humberto Estrada, Rafael Estrada, Omar Didino Director: Lisandro Alonso Screenwriter: Lisandro Alonso Running Time: 73 min Rating: NR Year: 2001

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