You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Unspools two parallel narratives connected only by a historical anomaly.

With: Matthew Rhys, Marta Lubos, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Nia Roberts, Matthew Gravelle, Rhys Parry Jones, Duffy. (Spanish, English, Welsh dialogue)

Offbeat even beyond its standing as perhaps the first feature co-production between its two co-producing nations, “Patagonia” unspools two parallel narratives connected only by a historical anomaly — the boatload of poor Welsh settlers who reached remotest Argentina in 1865, establishing a unique, still-extant cross-cultural corner of the desert there. While its separate parts may not quite add up, they complement each other quite pleasingly. Middleweight drama from director/co-writer Marc Evans (“Snow Cake,” “My Little Eye”) could attract limited specialty distrib attention on both sides of the Atlantic.

Pic’s two tales more or less commence in Buenos Aires, though neither lingers there long. Elderly, near-blind diabetic Cerys (Marta Lubos) is shuttled off to the city from her southern Andes home for cataract surgery, chaperoned most reluctantly by her bookish, bespectacled young nephew, Alejandro (Nahuel Perez Biscayart, “Glue”). He’s horrified when she reveals after their arrival that she’s secretly planned an entirely different mission: flying to Wales, where she hopes to locate the farm her mother emigrated from under mysterious circumstances almost a century ago.

This quest turns into a bit of a wild goose chase, putting aunt and nephew in contact with variably helpful locals. (They include Alejandro’s eventual romantic interest, played by rather too-glam Welsh pop star Duffy in her film debut.) En route, the uptight young man learns to loosen up and enjoy life a little, while his senior charge settles her accounts in preparation for a larger journey’s end.

By contrast, suffering a collective midlife crisis are the protags of the second story, both in their 30s or thereabouts. Multilingual couple Gwen (Nia Roberts) and Rhys (Matthew Gravelle) live in Cardiff, Wales; she’s an actress, he’s a photographer. Going through an apparent career slowdown, she decides to tag along on his assignment to shoot historic chapels of Welsh Patagonia. But what starts out as a romantic getaway turns uncomfortable, with vague tensions between the two exacerbated by her flirtatious affinity with handsome Mateo (Matthew Rhys), their driver and guide through the sparsely populated region.

Evans nimbly cuts between the two unhurried threads, which form a nice textural contrast in d.p. Robbie Ryan’s lensing of the disparate landscapes — one all lush, verdant hills, the other rich in desert hues. Jumping back and forth also helps balance out stories that might have seemed insubstantial if each stood alone. While attractively cast, the Rhys-Gwen-Mateo triangle suffers a bit from sketchy writing. Though the first two have been together some years, we really have no idea what their problems are, or why one sexy stranger could so easily trigger the relationship’s possible dissolution.

Cerys and Alejandro are more simply and satisfyingly conceived figures, their adventures’ more wryly comic tone suiting Evans and his thesps just fine. Still, this tale might have seemed too obvious a sentimental crowdpleaser if it couldn’t bounce off the other’s more ambivalent, adult tenor.

Perfs are strong all around, with tech/design contributions solid without risking the overslick packaging of most tourist-brochure cinema.



Production: An S4C and the Film Agency for Wales presentation, in association with the Sales Creative IP Fund, JC Trust, Globe Prods., Pepper Post and Grenville Thomas, of a Rainy Day Films/Boom Films production, in association with Red Rum Films. (International sales: Little Film Co., Los Angeles.) Produced by Rebekah Gilbertson, Flora Fernandez-Marengo. Executive producers, Huw Penallt Jones, Pauline Burt, Stefan Jonas, Claudia Blumhuber, Linda James, Marc Robinson, Jane Coombes, Grenville Thomas, Meirion Davies, Rhian Gibson, Chris Clark. Co-producer, Lona Llewelyn Davies. Directed by Marc Evans. Screenplay, Laurence Coriat, Evans.

Crew: Camera (color), Robbie Ryan; editor, Mali Evans; music, Joseph Loduca, Angelo Badalamenti; production designer/costume designer, Marie Lanna; sound (Dolby Digital), Simon Fraser; casting, Jessica Ronane, Javier Braier. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival (World Cinema), Oct. 14, 2010. (Also in Seattle, London film festivals.) Running time: 118 MIN.

With: With: Matthew Rhys, Marta Lubos, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Nia Roberts, Matthew Gravelle, Rhys Parry Jones, Duffy. (Spanish, English, Welsh dialogue)

More Film

  • 'The Apollo' Review: A Legendary Theater

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Apollo'

    You should never take for granted a documentary that fills in the basics with flair and feeling. Especially when the basics consist of great big gobs of some of the most revolutionary and exhilarating popular art ever created in this country. Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo,” which kicked off the Tribeca Film Festival on [...]

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Interscope Films Relaunches With Full Slate at Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Interscope record label’s interest in film/music crossover isn’t exactly a secret: With hit companion albums for “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther” and “La La Land,” they’ve seemed to own the soundtrack space at times in recent years. And the company hasn’t completely made a secret of its desire to move into film production. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

    For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are [...]

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content