Temporada de Caza | by NATALIA GARAGIOLA | Feature film | 2017 | Argentina, USA, Germany, France, Qatar | 105 min | color
Ernesto is a respected hunting guide in Patagonia, where he lives with his new family. After his previous wife dies, he is forced to house his teenage son (Nahuel), whom he hasn’t seen for more than a decade.
Confronted with the past he left behind, Ernesto struggles to contain the violent outbursts of his son. Without the sympathy of his new family, Nahuel stretches the conflict with his father to a limit.
In the hostility of nature, resentment gives way in to a possible relationship between these two men. The reunion will confront them with their own hability to kill and forgive.
Director: Natalia Garagiola
Screenplay: Natalia Garagiola
Director of Photography: Fernando Lockett
Production Designer: Marina Raggio
Sound Designer: Santiago Fumagalli
Costume Designer: Victoria Nana
Line Producer: Fernando Méndez
Assistant Director: Bruno Roberti
Editor: Gonzalo Tobal
Cast: Lautaro Bettoni (Nahuel); Germán Palacios (Ernesto); Boy Olmi (Bautista); Rita Pauls (Clara)
Production: Rei Cine SRL
Co-production: Gamechanger Films, Augenschein Filmproduktion, Les Films de l’Étranger
Producers: Santiago Gallelli, Matías Roveda, Benjamin Domenech, Gonzalo Tobal
Co-producers: Mynette Louie, Jonas Katzenstein, Maximilian Leo, Catharina Schreckenberg, Philippe Avril.
Executive Producers: Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, Wendy Ettinger, Philipp Stendebach
Co-Executive Producers: Abigail Disney, Regina K. Scully.
Supported by: INCAA (Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales), Torino Film Lab (Production Award), Doha Film Institute, World Cinema Fund, Eurométropole de Strasbourg, Mecenazgo Cultural – Buenos Aires Ciudad, Toulouse Cinéma en Construction, Buenos Aires Lab, Cannes Nordic Factory, Rotterdam Lab, BrLab, TyPA.
World premiere: 32nd Venice Critic's Week - Official Competition:
Festifreak - Festival Internacional de La Plata , Oct 2017
MAFICI - Festival Internacional de Cine de Puerto Madryn, Oct 2017: Best First Film
Filmfest Hamburg, Oct 2017
Bratislava International Film Festival, Nov. 2017
Zagreb Film Festival, Nov. 2017
International Film Festival Macao, Dec. 2017
30e Cinélatino – Rencontres de Toulouse - Prix FIPRESCI, March 2018
3e Effervescence - Mâcon Film Fest- Jury's award, October 208
World sales: Alpha Violet
ABOUT THE MOVIE
First-time feature director Natalia Garagiola brings evocative use of Patagonian locations, plus the presence of veteran Argentinian actor German Palacios, to the mix, and Hunting Season should continue its festival journey after its Venice Critics Week premiere. Its stunning aesthetic should strike a chord when it opens at home in September, and may attract notice further afield.
Reminiscent of Aaron Taylor-Johnson with his sullen good looks and impressive quiff, newcomer Lautaro Bettoni plays teenager Nahuel who, in a brisk preamble, is expelled from his prestigious Buenos Aires school for fighting and shipped off by well-meaning widower stepfather Bautista (Boy Olmi) to stay with estranged father Ernesto in his isolated Patagonia home.
The difficult relationship between Nahuel and Ernesto, who haven’t seen each other for many years, is immediately established by the fact that Ernesto keeps his son waiting for three hours at the airport. As Nahuel struggles to settle into the simple home Ernesto keeps with his wife Clara (an underused Rita Pauls) and three noisy young daughters, the atmosphere is as chilly as the snow-covered environment; particularly as neither man seems able to speak more than two words to each other without shared resentment boiling over.
When ranger Ernesto decides to take Nahuel hunting with him, however, teaching him the discipline needed to hold and use a rifle, they finally find something over which they can bond. Over the course of a few expeditions into the wild, alone and with Ernesto’s colleagues, their relationship slowly begins to thaw.
With neither man being the most verbose of characters, writer/director Garagiola tells their story via subtle observation, with narrative undulations taking the form of brief exchanges, body language and seemingly unconnected actions. The dinner table is a neat recurring motif with family meals evolving from tense, stony affairs to rather more sociable gatherings. The loss of Nahuel’s mother — the catalyst for the breakdown in relations between father and son — is well-handled, told through his repeated playing of a video of her on his phone (which we are only privy to in the film’s final reel) and a climactic roadside confrontation with Ernesto.
Similarly, the natural environment is well utilised by cinematographer Fernando Lockett, with Nahuel often framed as a tiny figure almost lost against an expanse of horizon. He and his father’s scouting for deer — and, later, poachers — speaks to their joint search for emotional common ground, and the fact that respect, for the environment and each other, runs both ways.
Hunting Season benefits from the approach of its director which has a welcome dramatic maturity and lightness of touch.
(Nikki Baughan, Screendaily, 3 September 2017)
The oft-told tale of a socially detached teenage boy struggling to find his place in the world is given some Argentinian flavour in Hunting Season (Temporada de Caza). While its story is not new, it is sensitively told, and this nuanced approach, together with compelling performances, helps lift this film above the usual family drama.