Argentinean painter Jesandro Alonso (1975), the son of a cattle farmer who was not prepared to continue in the family business, graduated from Del Cine University in Buenos Aires. He was 25 when he made his first film, La Libertad, “Outside Buenos Aires but inside Argentina.”

La Libertad
Freedom (2001), which participated in the official competition of the Cannes Film Festival in 2001 and won the Critics Award, marked Alonso as one of the most outstanding and intriguing artists in contemporary Latin American cinema. Alonso’s films include: Los Muertos (2004), Liverpool (2008) and the theatrical Fantasma (2006) revived the promise of the Argentinian nuevo cine of the 1990s by turning the focus from the urban mainstream culture dictated by many of the movement’s leading directors, and re-established the importance of meticulous minimalist cinema which subordinates the traditions of both documentary and narrative films.

Alonso’s films offer poetic variations of human existential loneliness, represented by the presence and mystery of his protagonists—amateur actors, and anchored in an almost parable-like dimension. The wild, exposed and sensual vistas captured by Alonso’s 35mm camera, presented the determined and hard faces of the film’s heroes in stark contrast. The main character in all of Alonso’s films, wrapped in an enigmatic quintessence that characterizes solitary wanderers chasing specific but vague targets, wandering and crossing distant areas – the endless pampas of La Libertad, the tangled jungle of Los Muertos, the archipelago of frozen fire in Liverpool and the desert vistas of Patagonia in 1882 in Alonso’s fifth and final film – Jauja.

Jauja is a psychological Western, a periodic international coproduction. The film participated in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival official competition and received the prestigious critics’ prize. For the first time, this film stars professional actors, the most prominent being the hypnotic Viggo Mortensen, who plays the film’s Danish hero, Captain Dinesen. (Mortensen is also responsible for the soundtrack of the film and is one of its producers.) Jauja deals with the loneliness of man and the motive for the continuation of human existence, but unlike Alonso’s four previous films which are characterized by long, gazing and silent shots, this film is full of speech and text with an existentialist Gothic character, and is characterized by the basic tactic of cinematic expression combining heat and cold and wind and stars, which give Alonso’s film the mysterious clarity of a daydream.