Review: ‘Impenetrable’

Solid and involving, this docu about giving land in Paraguay back to native inhabitants will resonate with docu fest auds.

Perhaps Daniele Incalcaterra and Fausta Quattrini started “Impenetrable” thinking they’d make a simple docu about Incalcaterra giving land in Paraguay back to native inhabitants, but his attempt to complete this do-gooding act became nightmarishly complicated. Back in 1983, Incalcaterra’s Italian father bought 12,355 acres of untouched land, and now he and his brother want to rid themselves of their colonialist burden. However, Paraguay is no country for altruistic men, and he encounters rapacious farmers, klepto-bureaucracy and a dysfunctional legal system. Solid and involving, “Impenetrable” will resonate with docu fest auds.

An Italo living in Argentina, Incalcaterra was never comfortable with owning land whose native Guarani Nandeva people have been marginalized, so he thought he’d sign it over to the indigenous population. Yet just finding it became a nightmare, since the property is surrounded by proprietary (and armed) farmer-developers responsible for criminal deforestation, who deny him access to public roads. Advised that giving the land outright to the Nandeva will make them targets, Incalcaterra decides to make the property a nature reserve, but then discovers someone else holds the same title deeds. A cautiously optimistic finale bodes well for the planet.

Impenetrable

Documentary - Argentina-France

Production

A Les Films d'Ici, Daniele Incalcaterra production, with the participation of the CNC, Incaa. (International sales: Doc & Film, Paris.) Produced by Richard Copans, Daniele Incalcaterra. Executive producers, Florence Gilles, Javier Leoz. Directed, written by Daniele Incalcaterra, Fausta Quattrini.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Incalcaterra, Quattrini, Cobi Migliora; editor, Catherine Rascon; music, Pablo Gignoli; sound, Agustin Alzueta, Luciano Bertone, Sakio Hiraiwa, Dominique Vieillard. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Special Screenings), Aug. 30, 2012. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Daniele Incalcaterra, Joti Escobar, Tranquilo Favero. (Italian, Spanish dialogue)
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