×

The Wind Journeys

The rugged majesty of the Colombian landscape forms a spectacular widescreen backdrop for a simple, bittersweet tale of regret and companionship in "The Wind Journeys."

With:
With: Marciano Martinez, Yull Nunez, Rosendo Romero, Beto Rada, Guillermo Arzuaga, Jose Luis Torres, Agustin Nieves, Erminia Martinez, Justo Valdez, Carmen Molina, Juan Bautista Martinez. (Spanish, Bantu, Wayunayky, Ikn dialogue)

The rugged majesty of the Colombian landscape forms a spectacular widescreen backdrop for a simple, bittersweet tale of regret and companionship in “The Wind Journeys.” Awash in scenic vistas and infused with a touch of the supernatural, this beautifully judged two-hander tells the story of an aging accordion player and the young wannabe musician he’s reluctantly allowed to accompany him on his long trek north. Fest travel will take writer-director Ciro Guerra’s second feature far and wide, particularly in Latin American territories, and smart, venturesome distribs should be able to capitalize on the film’s abundant visual and emotional rewards.

Ignacio Carrillo (Marciano Martinez) has spent most of his life as a juglar, or minstrel. Now in his twilight years and still mourning his wife’s recent death, Ignacio vows never to play the accordion again, and sets out on his donkey to return the instrument to his mentor in northern Colombia. Tagging along for the trip is rootless, restless teen Fermin Morales (Yull Nunez), who longs to apprentice himself to Ignacio and learn to play the accordion — and later, the drum, though he demonstrates little talent for either instrument.

Popular on Variety

Though he’s too taciturn and withdrawn to be openly hostile toward his fellow traveler, Ignacio makes it amply clear that Fermin’s presence is unwelcome. Guerra’s script has its share of familiar elements — Fermin, no surprise, is in need of a father figure — but its most remarkable quality may be its fundamental honesty. The scribe never tries to force a bond between the two characters; nor does he take the easy route of supplying Fermin with latent musical abilities.

Yet despite the absence of conventional payoffs, drama and suspense are hardly in short supply. A drawn-out sequence in which Ignacio decides to break his vow, as he’s lured into a battle of escalating one-upmanship with an arrogant accordionist, proves enormously satisfying, and the story takes a believably harrowing turn when Ignacio is robbed and it falls to Fermin to recover the stolen instrument. The tale is enriched by myriad references to sorcery and other mystical undercurrents, the most resonant being an alleged curse on Ignacio’s distinctively crafted accordion.

Given little dialogue beyond his singing performances, gifted non-pro Martinez strongly inhabits a figure as tough and unyielding as the landscape, though in the grip of an unarticulated sorrow; Nunez has piercing moments as a young man trying to make something of himself. Local side characters, speaking a wide range of dialects, are well inhabited but generally portrayed as antagonistic.

As helmed by Guerra (avoiding the sophomore slump after his prize-winning 2004 debut, “La sombra del caminante”), “The Wind Journeys” unfolds at a slow but steady pace commensurate with that of its two leads, offering gorgeous but never unnecessary stops and detours along the way. Whether framing a hut on a cloud-wrapped hilltop or the cracked, parched ground of a desert, Paulo Andres Perez’s widescreen compositions often dwarf the characters in their sheer scale and grandeur, offering up the region’s desolate beauty as an object worthy of endless contemplation.

Ivan “Tito” Ocampo’s score subtly supports the film’s musical performances.

The Wind Journeys

Colombia

Production: A Ciudad Lunar Producciones production, in co-production with Razor Films, Cine Ojo, Primer Plano, Volya Films, ZDF, in association with RCN Cine E-nnovva, Cinemart, Myriam Camhi, Carboandes, Arte, with the support of World Cinema Fund, German Federal Cultural Foundation, Cinefondation, Fondo Para el Desarrollo Cinematografico, Incaa, Ibermedia, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Hubert Bals Fund, Rotterdam Media Fund, Gobernacion del Cesar, Servientrega, Elle Driver. (International sales: Elle Driver, Paris.) Produced by Diana Bustamante, Cristina Gallego. Co-producers, Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul, Denis Vaslin. Directed, written by Ciro Guerra.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Paulo Andres Perez; editor, Ivan Wild; music, Ivan "Tito" Ocampo; production designer, Angelica Perea; set decorator, Ramses Benjumea; costume designer, Camila Olarte; sound (Dolby Digital), Jose Jairo Florez; sound designer, Ranko Paukovic; casting, Juan Pablo Felix. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 21, 2009. Running time: 120 MIN.

With: With: Marciano Martinez, Yull Nunez, Rosendo Romero, Beto Rada, Guillermo Arzuaga, Jose Luis Torres, Agustin Nieves, Erminia Martinez, Justo Valdez, Carmen Molina, Juan Bautista Martinez. (Spanish, Bantu, Wayunayky, Ikn dialogue)

More Film

  • Spongebob Movie Trailer

    Watch the 'SpongeBob' Movie Super Bowl Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paramount gave an early look at its “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” tv spot that will debut ahead of the Super Bowl. The new clip has everything from fast cars and flashbacks to Snoop Dogg and Keanu Reeves. The animated movie sees SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star venture out of Bikini Bottom and [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris SAG AFRA PRESIDENT

    SAG-AFTRA Unveils Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA has unveiled the guidelines for intimacy coordinators who are on sets when union members’ work involves nudity and simulated sex. The union released “Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators” on Wednesday, six months after announcing that it would standardize the guidelines for such scenes. “SAG-AFTRA believes that implementation of these standards [...]

  • Scandinavia's NENT Group Exits Non-Scripted, Focuses

    Scandinavia's NENT Group Pulls Plug on Non-Scripted, Sets Sights on Drama and Film

    Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, is set to pull out of non-scripted content, and focus on scripted drama and film production and distribution. The company is looking to bring a minority equity partner on board to bolster its scripted drama production business. As part of the reorg, NENT Group [...]

  • Goteborg Film Festival The Gynecological Cinema

    Anna Odell Puts Men in a Gynaecological Chair

    After William Castle’s “Percepto!” or John Waters’ “Odorama,” it seems like the time has come for Swedish provocateur Anna Odell’s “The Gynaecological Cinema Chair” – an interactive experience created specially for this year’s Göteborg Film Festival. A concept that’s more than just an attention-grabbing gimmick, however, as the director behind 2013’s “The Reunion” was quick [...]

  • The-Intruder

    Watch the Trailer from Just Announced Berlin Competition Entry ‘The Intruder’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  —  Just minutes after the Berlinale confirmed on Wednesday its selection in main competition, the pedigree producers of Argentine Natalia Meta’s “The Intruder” (“El Prófugo”) have dropped a first teaser-trailer for what has been described as a “pyscho-sexual fantastic thriller.” They have also confirmed more details of one of the buzziest new titles from [...]

  • Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a

    Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a Spy’ Leads Cesar Awards Nominations

    Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy” is leading the race for the Cesar Awards, France’s top film honors, with 12 nominations, followed by Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated “Les Miserables.” “An Officer and a Spy” earned nominations for best film, director, actor (Jean Dujardin), cinematography, set design, costume and music, among others. Although he’s been at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content