LFF #7 – Thursday Till Sunday

Welcome to our ongoing coverage of this year’s London Film Festival. We’ll be going live each day with an in-depth review of a specific film that’s playing at this year’s festival, while you can keep an eye on our Twitter feed for broader reaction.

Thursday Till Sunday, from Chilean filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor Castillo plays as a part of the London Film Festival’s Journey strand. And is “Journey” ever an apt description for a picture of this ilk. The film opens at dawn, as a family hectically make their final preparations for a road trip across the director’s home country. We awaken and join the frantic situation in the company of Lucia, a ten year old girl. The journey is in aid of land, with the family heading out to claim a plot left in the will of one of Lucia’s grandparents. En-route to this location the family partake in a number of excursions, with, as is typical of this type of picture, each one generally in aid of some form of self-discovery.  

The long take is perhaps the great cinematic counterpart to the road movie, and Castillo, together with cinematographer Bárbara Álvarez here makes great use of the technique. The mobile camerawork, coupled with a lack of diegetic sound combines to bring an understated, naturalistic feel to the film. The landscape of Chile is fascinating, as the old world and the new merge together as the family pass by. While such symbolism may appear obvious, or even downright crass and predictable when written down, in practice it feels quite the opposite. Wind farms and chatter of Hotmail addresses blend in with the traditional vista of an emerging nation. Chile in itself is a fascinating country, the space it occupies within the South American continent a truly unique affair, with it’s long but narrow outline at odds with the formation of many of the surrounding countries.

Castillo’s road-trip is told through the eyes of one of the younger members of the family, bringing to mind a number of other recent youth dramas driven by female protagonists.  Granted, the following comparison is no doubt due in large part to the physical resemblance of the lead of Thursday Till Sunday, Santi Ahumada, but Alice Rohrwacher’s Corpo Celeste, a film which screened at last year’s festival, immediately springs to mind, but while that film was about a journey of discovery through religion, Thursday Till Sunday is one concerned with the coming of age through place.

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