Patagonia (15)

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The Independent Culture

Here's a collector's item, a drama in which the only languages spoken are Welsh and Spanish. It's also two road movies for the price of one, running the parallel stories of pilgrims on a search for identity. Gwen (Nia Roberts) and her photographer boyfriend Rhys (Matthew Gravelle) journey from hometown Cardiff to Patagonia, having packed some unspecified sadness that comes to the boil when Gwen meets Welsh-Patagonian rancher dude Mateo (Matthew Rhys). Meanwhile, travelling in exactly the opposite direction is elderly Argentine native Cerys (Marta Lubos) who wants to connect with her ancestral Wales before she dies, and takes along her shy young neighbour Alejandro (Nahaul Perez Biscayart) as companion. Wonderfully shot by Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank), the film displays a lyrical sensitivity both to the desert landscapes of Patagonia and to the remote, rain-glazed hills of Wales, and the unlikeliness of their ancient connection (the Welsh settled in Patagonia in 1865) becomes rather moving. Marc Evans (My Little Eye) gets good performances, and simply ignores the speed-bumps lined along the implausible journeys: a Viking-style burial at the close hardly answers to health and safety regulations, not to mention the obligation to the deceased's unknowing relatives.

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