Alonso’s landmark feature debut, based on months of closely observing its subject’s routines, follows a day in the life of Misael, a young woodcutter in the Argentinean pampas. Using long takes that are at once uninflected and hyper-attentive, La Libertad chronicles the stark facts and repetitive actions of Misael’s largely solitary existence: he searches for trees and chops wood, pauses to defecate or eat, prepares and transports the logs for sale, returns to his camp to build a fire and cook his dinner. The title crystallizes a question about this man’s life: is the cyclical daily grind a burden or a kind of freedom? Or does the title refer to Alonso’s conception of an anti-dramatic, materialist cinema, absolutely in-the-moment and liberated from the traditional confines of fiction and documentary? “An account of everyday work that transforms the banal into poetry, maybe even myth,” James Quandt wrote of La Libertad, named one of the top 10 films of the past decade in Cinema Scope magazine. Print courtesy of the Harvard Film Archive.
Ben Rivers | UK | 2008 | HDCam | 20m
Rivers’s hand-processed black-and-white images depict the exuberant and anarchic everyday playfulness of the children of a family living an alternative existence in the Scottish Highlands [Images courtesy of Ben Rivers and LUX, London].