Reviewed at Turin Intl. Young Cinema Festival (competing), Italy, Nov. 15, 1993. Running time: 97 MIN.
Vitor …Canto e Castro
Manuel … Filipe Cochofel
Artur … Antonio Pedro Figueiredo
Maria Joao … Maysa Marta
With: Glicinia Quartin, Manuela De Freitas, Luis Santos, Armando Branco Alves , Rui Luis, Rui Gomes, Manuel Mozos.
An agreeably loose-limbed, unfettered road movie, “Far From Here” demands certain concessions that arthouse auds may not be willing to make. But festgoers willing to shrug off its jumble of confused narrative points and go with its easy rhythms and relaxed sense of humor will find much that’s seductive in Portuguese helmer Joao Guerra’s debut.
Catalyst in the story of crossed paths is a 1957 Ford Fairlane being driven through Portugal’s Alentejo region to a new owner. Film’s overly protracted opening has car’s drivers (Filipe Cochofel, Antonio Pedro Figueiredo) joy riding the night away until the roadster breaks down. Momentum picks up at sunrise with their attempts to fix the car.
A retired mechanic-turned-beekeeper with a heart condition (Canto e Castro) does the trick and convinces Figueiredo to take him cross-country on a motorbike to look up an old friend.
Cochofel and the mechanic’s alarmed niece (Maysa Marta) follow in pursuit. The old man dies peacefully on the road, but Figueiredo, having wholeheartedly grasped his deliverance mission, keeps going.
Beginning with the mechanic’s death, the four characters’ motivations become decidedly fuzzy, but the strong cast’s comradely interplay keeps things moving. Some night segs are underlit, but tech aspects are generally pro.