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Trailer Watch: Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s Utama

Watch the trailer for photographer-turned-filmmaker Alejandro Loayza Grisi‘s Utama ahead of the film’s theatrical release via Kino Lorber in New York and Los Angeles next month. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Dramatic) after screening at the this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is also Bolivia’s official Oscar submission for Best International Film.

Outside of Sundance, the film has garnered wider recognition after going on to receive awards at various international festivals, among them the Grand Prize for Best Film at Transilvania, Best Ibero-American Film, Jury Prize, Best Director, and Best Original Music at Malaga and Best First Film at Guadalajara. Notably, the film’s cinematographer is Barbara Álvarez, who shot Lucrecia Martel’s superb 2008 psychological thriller The Headless Woman.

Set in the Bolivian highlands, Utama follows and elderly Indigenous Quechua couple that resides in a small village predicated on self-sufficiency. Virginio (José Calcina) regularly takes their small herd of llamas out to graze in the pasture, while his wife Sisa (Luisa Quispe) embarks on lengthy treks with other village women to fetch potable water. When a drought devastates the livelihood they have painstakingly built for themselves, the couple must debate whether leaving their traditional way of life for a big city would betray everything they’ve ever held dear—or simply ensure their own survival.

Utama will open on November 4 at NYC’s Film Forum, November 11 at LA’s Laemmle Royal, with a rollout to follow in Chicago and additional U.S. cities.

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