Viaje – Sarajevo 21 Kinoscope

Paz Fábrega creates a low-key romantic bittersweet journey where a boy meets a girl as the time runs against them.

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How different could our relationships be if time was actually against us? This is the main idea behind Paz Fábrega’s sophomore feature film Viaje which participates at the Kinoscope section of the 21st Sarajevo Film Festival. In her film, Costa Rican filmmaker plays with all the boy-meets-girl stereotypes but she’s doing it with a twist. Viaje had its world premiere during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

Luciana (Kattia González) and Pedro (Fernando Bolaños), both in their early thirties, meet each other by chance and quite awkwardly at a masquerade party. After their initial misunderstanding a coup de foudre strikes them both and they decide to follow their emotions leaving behind any rationalism. Their journey begins and they will have to spend an adventurous and passionate weekend in a forestall area close to a volcano. That will be the time and the place where they should decide what happens next.

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Viaje is a quite balanced and well-structured little film that despite its heroes’ spontaneity follows a quite concrete storyline which at the same time breathes freely and attracts the viewer to actually feel part of it. Certainly Fábrega is following the classic path of all the romantic stories but she is using time in a double role. On one hand, her heroes should fight a real lack of time, since objectively they need more of it in order to know each other so their relationship could possibly evolve. On the other hand, and due to that shortage of time, their only option is to act as “irresponsible” as they can and the only way to achieve it is by acting as children. They already know that their decisions could be sometimes wrong or even thoughtless but they prefer to live something new without bearing any of the adult compromises. This duality is what characterizes Viaje which is not simply a geographical journey but most importantly a journey in time.

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Fábrega, by using this limited time in her advance – the film’s duration is just 71 minutes – explores the relationship between Luciana and Pedro in the most natural way. There are moments where reality captures everything and as the story and their relationship unfold, fragments of dreamlike sequences emerge in the forest. Everything works flawlessly with González and Bolaños convincing performances, the overexposed B&W cinematography by Fábrega and Esteban Chinchilla, and the low-key soundtrack by Alejandro Fernandez. Viaje never becomes obscener or more fictional than what is needed, the dialogues between the heroes follow their emotions and everything is seemingly synchronized and unexpected at the same time.

Regardless of its initial feel-good approach, Viaje actually develops to a bittersweet film where a casual romantic encounter between two complete strangers must compete with the cynical realization of the undisclosed future. Certainly the film doesn’t give a realistic answer on how time could change our lives since this is not Fábrega’s actual intention. Like her heroes. she takes advantage of the time and she also becomes a kid that tries to observe in the sweetest way possible the most beautiful experience that a boy and a girl could ever have.

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