Land and Shade Screen 8 articles

Land and Shade

2015

Land and Shade Poster
  • When it focuses on the workers, the movie resembles the films of John Sayles, who often juxtaposes a family drama with an expansive sociological portrait. In “Land and Shade,” the setting holds more interest than the plot: a fable-like, elemental story that sketches its characters too faintly to develop much power.

  • A beautifully crafted, leisurely paced portrait of a Colombian family holding on while the world is literally engulfed in flames around them, Land and Shade (La Tierra y la Sombra) clearly belongs to what’s known as the “slow cinema” genre, offering up some intoxicating visuals but taking its precious time in the storytelling department.

  • Through its images alone, Acevedo's fine first effort is a cumulatively impressive, if overall muted, take on one murky dwelling crippled by the raging, top-down hostilities of capitalism.

  • Framework is painfully bad - oh how miserable is life in this gloomy house where the windows are always shut and the ash from the burning cane fields stains our shirts! will the birds never heed our bird calls and come down from the trees?, etc - execution mostly makes up for it. Plain, muscular compositions, intelligible motives, just a few cheap shots and just enough visual beauty to make its presence felt without aestheticizing.

  • There are moments of quiet reprieve amid the purgatorial ash, like the returned teaching his grandson different birdsongs or shielding his ice cream cone as a dust-spewing truck rumbles by. You might not want to live here, but the imagery makes for a nice postcard.

  • ...The challenge pays off handsomely: Land and Shade includes stunning photography of backbreaking labor, with portraits of laborers whose finely chiseled features and unadorned directness recall in their austerity Walker Evans’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, or Sebastião Salgado’s goldmine portfolio.

  • Acevedo props stunning images of man's despairing relationship to the land on the barest of narrative bones, mostly a collection of long shots of characters trying to endure existence without completely shattering.

  • Acevedo's strong debut is a visual stunner, featuring blankets of falling ash and dense widescreen vistas. Lateral tracking shots help convey an intimate sense of distance and scale. The film peaks during a wordless last supper where a child's tears communicate volumes of pent-up sadness.

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