“Eureka”: a ceremony where the worlds of the living and the dead are inseparable

So many films are sold today solely on the strength of a compelling subject, that a feature film without an a priori identifiable subject, where the viewer must make their own way, suddenly seems like a breath of fresh air. This great breath, it is in Eureka , a long film by Argentinian Lisandro Alonso, that he came back to infuse it. After the pampero western Jauja (2014), this new production, of extravagant originality, shares with the material of dreams the capacity to transform on sight, to cross time and space as if by leapfrog.

Until then, we knew Lisandro Alonso as the rebellious star of the “new Argentine cinema”, which appeared at the beginning of the 2000s, its frugal and rustic side ( La Libertad , entirely devoted to the work of a lumberjack), with a clear appetite for remote territories ( Liverpool , 2009, odyssey in the depths of Patagonia), so much so that they adjoin that of the dead ( Fantasma , 2006). With Eureka, we rediscover him as an American filmmaker in the first sense: because he looks at the indigenous condition, not locally, on the scale of a tribe, but in a transcendent way, on that of a continent turned upside down. by colonial history.

The film is divided into three parts that we could almost call: “fiction”, “reality” and “myth”. It all begins in black and white, under the auspices of a parody western, so stripped-down that a feeling of macabre farce attaches to it. A gunslinger (Viggo Mortensen) in search of his daughter arrives in a lost town where a putrid air hangs: stripped prostitutes, drunkards to the last degree and corpses with holes pile up in its muddy detours, where also prowls an adventurer named “El Coronel » (Chiara Mastroianni). At the moment of the fatal duel, the performance is interrupted, giving way to the weather report: it was only a television series, conveying folkloric clichés on the characters of Indians arranged here and there (an old chief climbing the mountain). Hollywood fiction.

Languid rhythm

Out of the television, Eureka lands in Pine Ridge, alongside policewoman Debonna (Alaina Clifford), for a long night of patrol in the large reservation of the Lakota territory (South Dakota). The night is dark, the landscape buried under heavy snow. Moving from one emergency to another, the round reveals a distressing social situation, populations in complete abandonment. Connected to the central office by radio contact alone, Debonna travels through this darkness experiencing her insufficiency as well as a radical solitude.

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