9 October 2015 | PoppyTransfusion
Life and gleaning (slight spoilers)
In the semi-darkness of dawn a woman and her dogs are hunting birds and rodents for food. There is no human conversation only animal sounds. So begins this enigmatic film.
La mujer is the woman. We learn little of her biography during the film. She is shown with her 8 dogs and how she survives living wild, foraging and gleaning in order to survive. The idea of gleaning is new to me; I became acquainted with it via the wonderful Agnès Varda who explored this way of life in one of her films. La mujer gleans everything and we see the use to which she puts her found items and food.
La mujer's life is not all about utility; she loves her dogs and the parrot she feeds. She marvels at the city which she has cause to visit to see a doctor and visit an old friend. She marvels at the young people gathered for racing one spring day and she enjoys amorous activity with a local farmer.
Stripped of the institutions and mechanisms that humans have developed, life is hard. But it is peaceful as well, La mujer sits in still peace and enjoys the spring sun after the harsh winter. An abandoned dog is the strongest sign of despair that might lie at la mujer's heart and be the reason for the way she lives. La mujer tends the dog; she does not adopt it and we never know why. The dog's fate is sorrowful but treated without pity or time.
In terms of storytelling this film is highly original. There is barely any dialogue and little background music. It is quiet and contemplative and challenging.