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Ara Osterweil on Malena Szlam’s ALTIPLANO, 2018

COMPRISING NEARLY seven hundred miles of sand and felsic lava trapped in the twin rain shadows of the Andes and the Chilean Coast Range, the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth. It is also one of the most surreal. Within the larger geography of the Andean Altiplano—a massive plateau that reaches elevations of thirteen thousand feet—volcanic craters, salt flats, and lakes the color of blood stretch as far as the eye can see. It is no wonder that cinematographers and NASA scientists alike have used the region as a proxy for Mars.

In her 2018 film ALTIPLANO, the Chilean-born, Montreal-based filmmaker Malena Szlam reframes this alien topography as a palimpsest of terrestrial bodies, ruptured and wounded in the Anthropocene. Shot on lands historically inhabited by the Atacameño, Aymara, and Calchaquí-Diaguita tribes in northern Chile and northwest Argentina... Ara Osterweil

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Ambulante, México 02/28 Galería de Arte Contemporáneo de Xalapa, Veracruz at 5pm 03/03 Cineteca Rosalío Solano, Querétaro at 5pm SITE LINK

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Harvard Film Archive, Cambridge, MA, USA 03/03 “Ethnofictions by Laura Huertas Millán”, Acts of Seeing, Acts of Freeing at 7pm SITE LINK

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Festival PUNTO DE VISTA, Pamplona, Spain 03/15 Official Selection at 12:30pm and 10:30pm SITE LINK

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Cinéma Du Réel, Paris, France 03/17 Centre Pompidou at 1pm 03/18 La Cinémathèque française at 7pm 03/19 Forum des Images at 6:50pm CENTRE POMPIDOU / CINEMA DU REEL: LINK #1 CINEMATHEQUE FRANCAISE: LINK #2

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Queensland Film Festival, Brisbane, Australia 03/21 Landscape Variations, Institute of Modern Art at 7:30pm SITE LINK

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Portland IFF, Oregon, USA 03/21 Ways of Seeing at 6pm SITE LINK

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CPH:DOX, Copenhagen, Denmark 03/22, 03/26, 03/31 Cinemateket SITE LINK


The first in a series of films commissioned in South America as part of Media City Film Festival’s UNDERGROUND MINES program premiered on the festival circuit in 2018.


Malena Szlam’s 35mm masterpiece ALTIPLANO opened to audiences at the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival before being awarded Media City’s Second Prize during the 23rd edition (Nov.7-10, 2018).


ALTIPLANO has since been highly praised by critics and professionals internationally and was recently chosen by TIFF as one of CANADA’S TOP 10 FILMS OF 2018


CANADA'S TOP 10 FILMS LIST HERE.