To Lisandro Alonso’s wandering characters, every place they go seems like the edge of the world. In Liverpool, the fourth of the Argentine filmmaker’s languid, effulgent odysseys, the protagonist is first seen inside hemmed-in spaces that suggest the prison in Alonso’s Los Muertos, until a cut to the blinding daylight outside reveals the deck of a ship off the Patagonian coast. Farrel (Juan Fernandez), a sailor whose most faithful companion is a vodka canteen, gets off the freighter and sets out for the snowy Tierra del Fuego mountains to visit the family he hasn’t seen in years. He takes his time—slouching at the local strip joint, riding in the back of a lumber truck, passing out with bottle in hand—and once he reaches his destination, we see why. He’s been forgotten by his ailing mother and he’s a complete stranger to his disabled daughter, Analia (Giselle Irrazabal). The stage is set for family drama, but rather than confrontation, there’s a shift in point of view that posits the camera itself as one of the film’s drifters, choosing to stick with a different character while our previous guide disappears into the horizon. Like people in a Jacques Tourneur ghost story, Alonso’s creatures seem to exist in separate planes that overlap without quite connecting, a sense of disconnection which here extends from loner to community. Sailor and farmer are equally adrift (in one of countless vivid yet unforced visual felicities, the endlessness of Farrel’s ocean life is mirrored in the frigid expanses where Analia toils), but Alonso ultimately sees tenuous hope in the man’s attempts to communicate with his daughter, even if they take the form of a rusty memento passed on to somebody who cannot grasp its meaning. Formalist yet visceral, monosyllabic yet eloquent, Liverpool ponders the lure and absurdity of nests in a world of unending, faraway ports.
- 81 min
- 81 min
- Lisandro Alonso
- Lisandro Alonso, Salvador Roselli
- Juan Fernandez, Giselle Irrazabal, Nieves Cabrera
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