The Loneliest Planet Directed by: Julia Loktev Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Hani Furstenberg, Bidzina Gujabidze Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins Rating: Not Rated Showtimes at PIFF: Monday 2/20 5:15pm at Cinema 21, Friday 2/24 8:45pm at Cinema 21 Complete PIFF Schedule
PLOT: An engaged couple going on a backpacking trip through the Caucasus Mountains and find out some tough truths about their relationship.
WHO'S IT FOR? Filmgoers who prefer visuals over dialogue.
Bernal and Furstenberg make a beautiful and believable couple. From the beginning, their rapport seems easy and natural. The film is observational, the camera watches the couple as they walk around town, find a guide, play with children and just have a good time. Their guide seems a little suspect, but maybe only because I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Though the program says the film has subtitles, mine didn't. Most of the dialogue is in English, but a few pivotal scenes are in Georgian. However, since the main characters don't know what's being said either, it worked for me. About halfway through, an event happens that changes everything. From there, the movie feels uncomfortably real. Loktev doesn't take an easy out, her characters never discuss all their feelings. She focuses on Bernal, and especially Furstenberg's faces to give an idea of what's going on. I never had a sense that I didn't know what was happening, or know at least as much as the characters.
The film develops very slowly, sometimes I forgot that there was a story and just watched the scenery go by. That gives a sense of the passage of time (which can be slow when you're hiking) but I'm not sure if it really worked for the film. Cutting off about half an hour from the top of the film would have been totally fine with me. Still, it made an impact.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10