Iván Osnovikoff & Bettina Perut – Surire (2015)

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Synopsis
While researching locations for their 2009 film Noticias, documentary filmmakers Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff stumbled upon Salar de Surire, a salt flat in the Chilean Andes at an altitude of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). “It was like being on the moon,” they explained in an interview. The vast, barren landscape and the thin mountain air left them feeling intensely alienated, and in Surire they make that sensation palpable. The long observational shots capture a desolate landscape in which human life at first seems to play only a marginal role. But the camera challenges this first impression, focusing on the wealth of flora and fauna in the foreground, while off in the distance a colorful convoy of transporter trucks takes away the salt – which, despite Salar de Surire’s protected status, is mined with the approval of the authorities. Perut and Osnovikoff document this disappearing world using their characteristic and highly articulate visual idiom, particularly recognizable for its grand wide shots and the pin-sharp extreme close-ups. The last original inhabitants of the region look on in resignation from a distance at the exploitation of their habitat. Meanwhile, they tend to their llamas, subject the dog to a risky-looking trim and prepare for a trip into town. Continue reading