Eternity, or Winaypacha as the Aymara people who live in Peru call it, is a beautiful movie. It captures things like the dewy grass that we normally see in the Andes. It also does things that are antithetical to film making in the conventional way. Like going to the dark house where an Aymara couple like Willka (Vicente Catacora) and Phaxsi (Rosa Nina) live. Dark spaces in movies normally don’t work and neither do a lack of close-ups.
Any other filmmaker would inundate their film with bright faces to introduce his characters to his audience. Instead, director Oscar Catacora mostly uses distant long shots here. And he somehow captures the warmth that we end up feeling for these resilient characters. He also evokes the paintings of Baroque artists like Rembrandt in depicting Willka and Phaxsi. And he incorporates Eurpoean and First Nations aesthetics perfectly in his first film as a director.
There’s an irony in Catacora calling his film Eternity, since both Willka and Phaxsi are senior citizens. A couple who still have hope that their son will return to them. Add that to their daily tasks and limited supplies, which comes with living in the mountains. There are a lot of factors that keep them there other than their attachment to the land.
Willka and Phaxsi’s story isn’t completely tragic as Catacora incorporates levity into his work. Sometimes the wind blesses them and makes grain gathering easy for them. But the gods can be cruel sometimes, as an omen predicts death for the solitary couple. This is bad news for Phaxsi since she wants to see her son before she dies. Another of the film’s assets is that all its elements add up to an elegant work. Simplicity always works but that’s true in depicting these fragile lives.
- Release Date: 10/19/2018