"La sirga" is a thoroughly engrossing art film committed more to ambiguity than to clarity, and as much to sound as to image.

Proving that it’s still possible for a young director to deliver a film that’s committed more to ambiguity than to clarity, and as much to sound as to image, William Vega’s “La Sirga” is a thoroughly engrossing art film that follows a young Colombian woman who works to help restore her uncle’s ramshackle inn after unspecified warriors devastate her hometown. Set in a remote village in the Andes, pic emphasizes nuance over narrative as sleepwalking Alicia (Joghis Arias) is left to brave the various elements, including her peeping uncle (Julio Cesar Roble) and his son (Heraldo Romero). Critical acclaim awaits.

Inviting anxiety from the get-go, Vega opens with the image of a dead man hung on a spear — an apparent illustration of the brutality to which jittery Alicia alludes once she arrives, nervously, at remote La Sirga, her uncle’s dilapidated inn. Uncle Oscar reluctantly allows Alicia to help fix up the hotel, but, as tourists remain elusive, so the film mysteriously declines to foreshadow what subtle twists may lie ahead. Tech-wise, the pic is a triumph, with the sound recording of howling wind, creaky floorboards, and crackling fire working wonders.

La Sirga

Colombia-France-Mexico

Production

A Contravia Films, Burning Blue production, in association with Cine-Sud Promotion, Film Tank, with the support of Puntoguionpunto, RCN Cine, Ennovva, Laboratorios Black Velvet, Fondo Para el Desarrollo Cinematografico, Fonds Sud Cinema, M Films, Ibermedia, Cine en Construccion, Fundacion Carolina, Casamerica, Moviecity, Cineplex. (International sales: MPM Film, Paris.) Produced by Oscar Ruiz Navia, Diana Bustamante. Co-producers, Thierry Lenouvel, Edgar San Juan, Issa Guerra, Sebastian Sanchez. Directed, written by William Vega.

Crew

Camera (color), Sofia Oggioni Hatty; editor, Miguel Schvenfinger; art director, Marcela Gomez Montoya. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 19, 2012. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Joghis Arias, Julio Cesar Roble, David Fernando Guacas, Floralba Achicanoy, Heraldo Romero. (Spanish dialogue)

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