I remember when I went to the London Film Festival in
2009, and there was a lot of talk about a small film
from Argentina called Liverpool. I remember
being a little struck by the title seeing as it is the
hometown of my mother and wanting to see it, yet being
I always remember the title and now thanks to Second
Run DVD, (who specialise in auteur cinema from third
world countries and directors who fail to get home
entertainment release) Lisandro Alonso's fourth
feature film is gaining a DVD release in the UK having
failed to garner a distributor in this country.
In the same vein of his previous work, it follows a
lonely soul on a journey of discovery. In this
case, a sailor, Farrel, leaves his ship and begins a
lengthy journey to wintry Tierra del Fuego’s interior,
to an isolated village and family that he hasn’t seen
in years. We gradually piece together his relationship
with the people and community he finds there on a
journey that looks familiar to him. From the opening
sequences on Farrel’s ship, to the spectacular
harshness of his destination, Alonso is meticulous in
mapping the sights and sounds of the landscape and
Farrel’s personal journey into the past.
Alonso's influences of film are far reaching from that
of fellow Argentinian and South American luminaries to
that of the mythology of American cinema and the
cowboy in the Westerns.
Alonso can be noted as nothing but courageous in his
narrative storytelling, in a film where you are asked
to invest a lot of time with one character Alonso does
this amazingly brash about turn in the story as our
focus must switch to someone else. As the
previous character exits, it reminded me of Alan Ladd
as Shane in the synonymous film who walks off into the
sunset, seemingly never to return - the mythology and
convention of the western can be seen in the small
town, the wanderer as a lonesome figure and the
journey as a rite of passage and possible redemption
(as with John Wayne in The Searchers).
Whilst it is a trying experience at times due to the
facet of slow cinema in which this piece of cinema can
sit next to the work Bela Tarr; it is nonetheless a
rewarding watch should you stick with it.
The DVD is presented in a brand new director-approved
anamorphic digital transfer and also includes Untitled
(Letter for Serra) / Sin título (Carta para Serra) – a
new short film by
Lisandro Alonso, available for the first time anywhere
The work of Lisandro Alonso is part of Slow Cinema
Weekend as part of the AV Festival in Newcastle,
Liverpool is screening on Sunday 11th March 2012.
Liverpool is released on DVD from Second Run for
£12.99 and is 82 minutes long with Spanish subtitles.