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PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Germany / Portugal / Argentina / Mexico

Lisandro Alonso shooting Viggo Mortensen-starrer Eureka

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- The Argentinian auteur has finally started shooting his ambitious and long-in-the-works new film, which will reunite him with the acclaimed actor, and also feature Chiara Mastroianni and Maria de Medeiros

Lisandro Alonso shooting Viggo Mortensen-starrer Eureka
Director Lisandro Alonso

It’s a word traditionally shouted to the heavens by theoretical physicists and, maybe now, by arthouse auteurs who’ve finally got a dream project up and running. Cinephiles and festival hounds can also holler a collective “Eureka!” with the full confirmation of Lisandro Alonso’s next film, his sixth feature overall after breaking out with La Libertad at Cannes back in 2001. Told in four distinct sections, Eureka, which has recently begun shooting in Almería, Spain, will examine the indigenous peoples of the Americas and how they’ve inhabited their specific environments across the centuries. Fiorella Moretti and Hédi Zardi, of France’s Luxbox, are the lead producers, with Germany’s Komplizen Film and Portugal’s Rosa Filmes serving as their fellow European co-producers. 4L and Pina Films produce for Argentina and Mexico, respectively, with Luxbox also handling international sales.

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Heavily mimicking the slender storyline of his past work Jauja [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(FIPRESCI-awarded at Cannes 2014), Eureka’s first part, entitled “Western,” will take place in a lawless township on the US-Mexico border in 1870, with Viggo Mortensen again playing the role of a father, Murphy, searching for his kidnapped daughter (Viilbjørk Malling Agger in an identical role to the prior film). Iranian filmmaker and sometime-actor Rafi Pitts will play the kidnapper, Randall. Maria de Medeiros (most famous for her role in the middle section of another little multi-part epic, Pulp Fiction) will feature in this segment, although Chiara Mastroianni’s (recently acclaimed for her roles in Christophe Honoré’s films) role in the script has not been announced. Almería, of course, has form deputising for the United States in European-produced westerns, with Jacques Audiard also recently shooting there for The Sisters Brothers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jacques Audiard
film profile
]
.

Part two of the film, “Pine Ridge,” will be set on a present-day Native American reservation in South Dakota, whilst “Amazonia,” the final part of four, follows Ubirajara, a member of a less-endangered indigenous settlement in the Amazon, who leaves to comb the local gold mines and is struck, literally, by “gold fever.” The third part of the film has not yet been announced in the initial reporting.

Alonso has clearly done his homework and will look to avoid exoticising cultures that aren’t his very own; a portion of the research procedure for this film included a residency at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. As Alonso put it in a director’s statement, “I want to compare the indigenous tribes in North America with those who live in the Amazon, escaping modernity with the hope of keeping their ancestral traditions alive. Though it begins in 1870, Eureka is really a present-tense affair, capturing the tragedy of modernity, a sense of disconnect with nature and an ancestral past in a world alienated by its pursuit of wealth. I’d like spectators, all of us, and above all South Americans, to think where and how we should live, [and] how we can live better.”

We shall close with a plot “synopsis” provided by Komplizen Film, which seems to best capture the eerie and transportive feeling of Alonso’s strongest work: “Eureka is a bird that flies across different geographies of the American continent; in its flights, it also travels through time [...]. With luck, listening to her words, we will come to understand how difficult it is to become human beings.”

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