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Wasting young years

by Ana Šturm


A young director, a low budget, a small crew, and a take on the lives and relationships of twenty-something-year-olds who don't know how to behave like adults – or maybe don't even want to. Add a great soundtrack and sensual (black and white) cinematography and you get a number of unconventional indie films that just keep popping up around the world, like wild flowers in a desert after extensive rain.

Viaje (Paz Fábrega, 2015), the latest film that falls right into the above mentioned category, together with Hide and Seek (Joanna Coates, 2015), You're Sleeping, Nicole (Stéphane Lafleur, 2014) and A Coffee in Berlin (Jan Ole Gerster, 2012) is a textbook example coming all the way from the green shores of Costa Rica.

Luciana (Kattia González) and Pedro (Fernando Bolaños), two typical members of the young generation, meet at a costume party. After a silly night and a beer or two too much, the kindergarten teacher and the bear wake up in a strange apartment. They kind of like each other and are feeling somewhat adventurous, so they impulsively embark on a camping trip to the Rincón de la Viaje Volcanic National Park.

They walk through staggering landscapes shot in muted black and white, they run and jump, they swim, talk (mostly nonsense) and laugh out loud. They seem careless, simply existing in that single moment in time. It’s one of those situations in which you feel completely open and free, not caring about what anybody else thinks of you.

You can't always hear what they are talking about and it doesn't really matter. The first half of the movie just feels like one long, sweet and playful take. The film's visual language is reminiscent to the canon of quirky indie films. Although Viaje sometimes looks like a fashionable Calvin Klein commercial or an attractive music video, it still feels very true and honest at the same time. Luciana and Pedro are very genuine, full of energy, passion and wonder.

As they get to know each other better, the film tones down. It becomes slower and more melancholic. The shift is not too dramatic. Passion and exuberance give way to more serious and thoughtful conversations. Both characters become more conscious of themselves and their emotions.

The change of the rhythm is also connected with the change of setting. The solitude of nature interacts with their emotions and it somehow changes how they feel. They escaped the staleness of the city, to find something, something they can't describe or don't even know what, and time is running out for them.

Like their counterparts in similar free-spirited indie films, Luciana and Pedro are still searching for themselves. As Frances Ha would put it, they »aren't real persons yet«. And maybe they never will be. It seems like they are wasting their young years. But, isn't wasting your youth what being young is all about?



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