After meeting at a party, Luciana and Pedro... embark on a spur of the moment journey together that takes them to the forest. Asthey explore the beauty in the nature that surrounds them, they camp out under the stars, go on hikes, indulge in the passions of their encounter, and discuss their personal beliefs surrounding love, obligations, and attraction. Lensed in lush black-and-white cinematography amidst the gorgeous backdrop of the Costa Rican forest, an honest and genuine relationship story unfolds, lending a feeling of realism to their storybook romance in a refreshing and youthful way.
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★★★½ review by Juan on Letterboxd
I desperately need to rewatch this in a non-festival-streaming manner because the low quality really draws away from how gorgeous it looks. You can still tell it's beautiful, but sheesh.
Anyway, I'm such a sucker for fleeting romances that meander comfortably until they reach their end and that's exactly what VIAJE offers: a simple and beautiful glimpse at a romance that seems more or less destined to end. It's damn well-shot and edited, the script is solid when it needs to be and completely devoid of dialogue at other moments, and the chemistry between the leads is palpable, so much so that you can practically feel a gentle caress one character gives another. If anything is a mixed bag, it's the score, which I wasn't entirely fond of the whole way through.
But, again, I really want to rewatch this under better conditions. I also need to know if everyone's hair looks as oily as I assume it would be while they're out in nature for x days straight (I can only tell so much with low quality videos) because I feel like that's something important in this kind of story.
★★★½ review by Rakestraw on Letterboxd
The first Costa Rican film to play at Tribeca, Paz Fabrega's Viaje, is a lovely little romance drama that covers a lot of ground within its short 71 minute run-time, incorporating a number of unexpected mood shifts along the way.
Kattia Gonzalez (Luciana) and Fernando Bolanos (Pedro) exhibit great chemistry together as the nervously-just-met, playful couple foregoing the standard start to a relationship in favor of exploring the forest while Pedro works on his thesis.
Esteban Chinchilla's B&W cinematography of the surrounding terrain is striking in its presentation; especially in one sequence, overhead-shot of Luciana bathing in the milky springs, only head and splayed out hair visible as Pedro's head floats into frame.
★★★★★ review by Ledi on Letterboxd
VIAJE is a lean and expressive 69-minute journey through Costa Rica and the relationship between a likeable libertine duo, equal parts freewheeling and perfectly composed. Paz Fabrega's direction was impeccable and I definitely will seek out more of her work. Her script was also hilarious and the laughter infectious, but don’t let the manic, organic spontaneity fool you: the transiency of this journey and film hold immense meaning in hindsight, as soft a shadow to the humor as the cast of the film’s moonlit jungle leaves are to its milky tropical light.
The tightly knit cast let JOURNEY unfurl with a vivid loose energy, for there to be both irreverent, raunchy hilarity and serious poetry. The cast was so believable and realistic that I somehow am convinced that these exact events and exchanges actually happened. The cinematography was amazing throughout, with both atmospheric tracking shots and vibrant cuts. The symbolism throughout the movie was palpable. Even the onesie-filled space of a party perfectly expressed how the juvenile humor of twenty-somethings expresses an inner wish to hold on to the past, however carefree one may feign to be. The composition of the film was stunningly intimate with close-ups full of sensual texture, whether of plant or human life. Shots of spare imagery and tender framing made this some of the best cinematography I have seen in black-and-white. There is methodical analysis at work even in times of play. The original music and sound mixing was also atmospheric. It was heady and buzzing in humid spaces, but suffused contemplative scenes with tranquility.
This is the first Costa Rican film I have seen, and this movie makes me want to journey more into such striking, warm, and dusky territory. The short runtime of this film brings to question the point of watching movies in the first place. Is it to finish them, all the more easy when the film is short and sweet? No, as this film expresses, it is to experience every moment of them however long they may be. The ending, whether it is early or tardy, doesn’t negate experience and film, but completes them. And the best films, like this film, continue to make their own paths in our minds after they have ended.
★★★★ review by Durst Nora on Letterboxd
It really speaks to Fábrega's immense directorial talent that she's able to concoct something so divergent from her debut feature and pull it all off in such a fashionable manner. It's by no means uncharted territory, especially considering how leveled the approach is, but its always reassuring to witness players outside the US market taking cues from the mumblecore movement and still retain a distinguishable identity. It's short. It's charming. And Kattia González comes in hot with one the most successful performances on the 2010s.
Couldn't be more thrilled for Fábrega's next move.
★★★★ review by Bruno Rabello on Letterboxd
Em pouco mais de 70 minutos, este filme da Costa Rica é uma espécie de "Antes do Amanhecer", que mostra o romance de um final de semana entre dois jovens adultos, antes da inevitável (?) separação. Filmado em preto e branco, com uma bela fotografia e atuações fortes do casal.
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