The movie is about 2 main stories that intertwine: Turubamba, a village in Peru (the Andes) where a girl called Saturnina is about to marry her love Ignacio; but also about Grace and Max. Grace is a war photographer who came back from Iraq, where she was forced to take a picture of her guide/friend being shot before her eyes. She hasn’t been able to sleep since that event. Her husband, Max, is set to leave to Peru to work as an eye-surgeon.
The stories become linked due to a mercury spill that has contaminated the village, bringing forth health issues and death. When the doctors at the nearby medical station come to help, they are met with outrage.
Altiplano actually means “high plain” in Spanish.
The imagery is filled with a lot of symbolism, which makes it a surreal film. You see masked men throughout the landscape, pictures in the water, shots of Saturnina as if on a different plain and there is even a blind man repairing a broken statue of the Virgin Mary.
What I fear is, and it was the case for me, is that the symbolism that is portrayed is linked to Peruvian culture. I read an article last week where the directors stated that some of the symbolism had been put ad lib after learning a bit of the local culture and talking to the locals. So that is unfortunate for me, because as beautiful as the imagery is, I feel I have been missing out on some of the meanings.
Difficult one. It is really a either you love it either you’re not convinced kind of movie. I liked it. Not loved it. It is a nice story and the images are beautiful. You’d like to take a plane to Peru when you see the landscape.
The acting is strong, but the story might have been more powerful to keep you locked to the screen. That’s what is missing. But overall, I enjoyed it.