// Presented as part of Filmatique's FLMTQ Talents 2019 Series //
Spotlight on La Soledad
Exclusive Essay: Ghosts and the Living: Jorge Thielen Armand's La Soledad
Jorge Thielen Armand / 2016, Venice, BAFICI Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema, FICCI Cartagena, Istanbul, Miami, Munich, Sarasota, World Cinema Amsterdam / 89'
José lives with his grandmother and young family in La Soledad, a dilapidated Caracas mansion. His quotidian life consists of construction work, promising his daughter a trip to the beach and standing in long lines to buy food and basic medicine. José then discovers that La Soledad's owners intend to demolish the crumbling structure, putting his and his family's existence suddenly at risk. Desperate to save his loved ones from homelessness, José becomes singularly fixated on finding a cursed treasure rumored to be buried in the house since colonial times.
Filmed with nonprofessional actors in real locations, La Soledad offers a rare glimpse into lived, human experience amidst the economic crisis in contemporary Venezuela. Having participated in the Venice Biennale College Cinema, Jorge Thielen Armand's feature film debut premiered at Venice, Atlanta, where it won the Special Jury Award; Biarritz, where it won the Prix du Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma - Best Film; Durban, where it won Best Script and Best Editing; Festival del Cine Venezolano, where it won Best First Film and Best Sound; Miami where it won the Audience Award; Nashville, where it won a Honorable Mention; and Rhode Island, where it won Best Feature. La Soledad also won Best First Feature at the Museum of the Moving Image - Cinema Tropical Awards.
"[A] a flower of a film amid the ruins of Caracas… This parable about the crumbling economy and desperate people of Venezuela, has the hypnagogic rhythms of an Apichatpong Weerasethakul film"
- Leslie Felperin, Film Review, The Guardian