A dying photographer uses his final days to go in search of the image he’s dreamed of taking, in the lyrical, worthily New Age-y “A Distant Place.” Over-earnest, sometimes clumsy and consistently under attack from its bucket-of-slush score, pic nonetheless shows it’s made of sterner stuff as it unpacks issues of alienation, illness and the healing power of dreams before its preposterous final twist. Venezuelan-based helmer Jose Ramon Novoa’s strong rep, largely based on 1994’s “Sicario,” could conceivably help “Place” find a home in fests beyond the producing territories.
Terminally ill and abandoned by his g.f. (Mirela Mendoza), photog Julian (Erich Wildpret) has a dream vision and, aided by his sidekick, Roque (Tristan Ulloa), sets off into to the wilderness to locate and photograph it. Wildpret is too blank and nonverbal to provoke much interest, and the talented Ulloa underused, but Marcela Kloosterboer captivates in the awkwardly ambiguous role of Maria, an enigmatic cabin-dweller who takes Julian in. Black-and-white flashbacks hinder rather than help the flow, but Novoa has an eye for striking images, while the desolate mountain landscapes of Patagonia provide a stunning backdrop.