Friday, Sept 8 at 6:15 PM
The Cinematheque

Director: Alejandro Loayza Grisi
Bolivia | 2022 | Quechua and Spanish with English subtitles | 87 min | Drama

Sliding Scale Tickets:
$13 / $15 / $18 / $21

Plus $3 VLAFF Membership required

Set against the spectacular high sierra of the Bolivian Andes, this strikingly shot first feature from photographer Alejandro Loayza Grisi is the tale of an old man—a Quechua llama farmer—staring death in the face and refusing to blink. Drought shrouds the dirt-poor terrain, the nearest village is on course to become a ghost town as one family after another abandons it for the city, and wife Sisa has to walk further and further to bring back water, but Virginio refuses to budge from the mud hut which is the only house he’s ever known or needed. The return of their grandson Clever—with his modern ideas—challenges Virginio’s worldview, and together they must decide to resist or be defeated by the environment and time itself. – VIFF

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize – World Cinema: Dramatic at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival
Winner of the Transylvania Trophy at the Toronto International Film Festival

Loayza Grisi gives us an authentic snapshot of a remote corner of the world, and a different way of thinking about mortality. Stellar work by cinematographer Bárbara Álvarez (The Headless Woman) and the dignified performances from real-life couple José Calcina and Luisa Quispe (both non-professional actors) ensure Utama lingers in the mind.

Vancouver International Film Festival

Alejandro Loayza Grisi

Alejandro Loayza Grisi (1985) is a Bolivian filmmaker. He began his artistic career in still photography and then entered the world of cinema through cinematography. As a director of photography, he worked in the documentary series Planeta Bolivia, and many short films such as AichaDochera, and Polvo. Attracted by the stories that can be told through the image in motion, he ventured into scriptwriting and direction with his first feature film, Utama.