A tale of brutal colonialist violence set against the sweeping, mountainous backdrop of Chile at the turn of the 20th century, Felipe Gálvez’s handsomely mounted, emotionally wrenching adventure plays off conventions of the American Western while becoming its own haunting work of cinematic historical exploration. The film follows the journey of three men—an officer of the British army, a mercenary from the American Southwest, and a Chilean mixed-race marksman and tracker to guide the two outsiders—hired by a tyrannical landowner to scout the boundaries of his vast property and execute a new trade route. The true nature of their dispatch, however, comes into focus: to rid the area of its indigenous tribes. With its evocative period setting and arresting landscapes, The Settlers is a vivid, immersive experience, featuring an indelible final passage that reminds us the past is always present. A MUBI release.
Q&A with Felipe Gálvez on Oct. 2 & 4