MVFF37: Ciencias Naturales by Matias Lucchesi

This stunning and spare feature-length début by Matias Lucchesi is a wonderful exploration on the nature and the drive for truth. Two females, a 12-year old student (Lila)  and her natural sciences teacher, set out on a road trip in the dead of winter to find Lila’s father, who abandoned them before Lila was born. With only the flimsiest of clues to guide them through the large landmass that is Argentina, their trip brings them closer to the truth of the other and to the identity of the father.  The film is brisk, but it lingers in the mind and the heart, as though we ourselves traveled the 400 kilometers in search of the truth. In filming in the remote and wintry andscape of the Sierras de Cordoba, we are reminded that life and truth are beautiful, persistent, harsh, unexpected, and permanent. We are also reminded of what solid filmmaking is like—terrific acting (especially of the two leads), confident cinematography (interiors and exteriors alike are richly textured), and an unpretentious, truthful script without unnecessary ornamentation. This film brought to mind Pawel Palikowski’s Ida, with its wintry journey and its strong, determined women in search for the truth in the winter – as though that season of uncovering prepares them for a rebirth in the spring.

Ciencias Naturales (Natural Sciences), dir Matias Lucchesi, 71 min. Metaluna Productions, et al., 2014. In Spanish.

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