FILM: The Loneliest Planet
Written & Directed by Julia Loktev, and starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Hani Furstenberg, and Bidzina Gujabidze. The title of this beautifully shot film refers to the emotional space one finds when estranged from a loved one. You can be in the same room with them yet feeling separated by light years. Your isolation is made acute by the presence of another you cannot connect with.
Suffice to say, this is a very artsy film. The character’s actions are drenched in meaning. Every gesture or non-gesture, every look and facial expression is meant to be an indicator. In terms of action, not a lot happens. The film is about Alex (Garcia Bernal) and Nica (Furstenberg), a couple engaged to be married, who are on holiday in the former Soviet State of Georgia. While on a hike, an event transpires that jars their relationship and their very idea of themselves.
The Director (Loktev) and actors conspire to bring a physicality and intimacy to this piece, with the closeness of the shots, almost documentary like, constantly on the main characters. The lack of dialogue and the aim of telling a story with non-verbal cues is also a focus for Loktev. Some audience members might be left with the impression that nothing is happening in the film because there isn’t any expository dialogue.
Indeed, the natural sounds of the world around the characters, the wind, rushing water, and crunching of feet over rough terrain, is the score for this film instead of any music or constant chatter.
The silence of Dato (Gujabidze), the couple’s guide and silent witness to their interactions and the beautiful mountainous terrain of Georgia are the only other characters in the film. Check this one out only if you like films that are deeply emotional, beautifully shot, and steeped in meaning.