Nightstream Review: The Returned

  • Director: Laura Casabé
  • Writer: Laura Casabé, Lisandro Bera
  • Stars: Alberto Ajaka, Edgardo Castro, Javier Drolas 


Playing as part of the Nightstream film festival,  Argentinian film The Returned, ruminates on the treatment of indigenous people, grief, colonialism and even the Patriarchy.

In 1919, Julia the wife of wealthy landowner Mariano, has had heartbreaking results when trying to get pregnant and more aptly keeping the child alive. After a third still birth, Julia begs her servant Kerana (a Guarani indigenous) to help her. Julia wants to ask the Guarani deity Iguazu to bring her child back. Iguazu grants Julia’s wish but this comes with a price.

Casabé lays out heavy themes throughout the film, showing how much the Guarani are enslaved and treated like they don’t matter, the difference between wealthy landowners and the original owners of the land, the importance that men held over women and the difference between the ideologies of both groups. In that sense, it’s a bit like The Nightingale, although it must be said The Returned is a less graphic (mostly) look at similar issues. Told in three chapters, the film let’s the audience watch as it slow puts the puzzle pieces in place.

Casabé and cinematographer Leonardo Hermo use the gorgeous scenery of the mountains and jungle to create some beautiful and menacing shots. This helps the film create an atmosphere that makes the film a moving yet disturbing folkloric tale.

Played as part of the Nightstream Festival

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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