Miguel Mejías: ‘The traveler’: excess baggage | Culture

Divided into dreamlike episodes, with few dialogues but with plastic eloquence, the traveler it portrays the forward flight of a woman faced with loneliness and the death of her mother. Interpreted by Angela Boix, the protagonist travels in her car towards “the north”, without that direction seems to respond to a geographical destination but to a telluric state of mind in which the earth and the wind merge with the rough skin of the characters. In her solitude, the traveling saleswoman in the title clings to a single object, an 8 mm camera with which she records insects and with which she herself was filmed as a child by her mother.

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Miguel Mejías’ first film plunges into a kind of infinite duel in which reconstruction and destruction seem to go hand in hand. And he does so using an enveloping and suggestive photography, with that ghostly and end-of-the-world background offered by the inexhaustible Canarian landscape and with good actors capable of seeking their lives in a story that, between quotes by Paul Éluard, music by Satie and desert horizons, wants to embrace too many depths. An intimate, sad and dark plot that sins of an excess of intensity and bombast.

Mejías proposes a parallel between what happens on the screen and the very existence of cinema. An idea that also refers to the famous essay by Roland Barthes The lucid camera, which seems here evoked by the close relationship between the camera and the duel, as in those primitive dioramas and daguerreotypes that resurrected lost bodies. In the same way that the protagonist films insects enclosed in a glass boat, the director films a woman lost in her own isolation. But neither the idea of ​​the filmmaker as entomologist nor that of humans as insects are well resolved. And although the mixture of textures allows one to circulate between that limbo of the living and the dead, and despite its undeniable moments of dark beauty, the set does not free itself from an excess of theory that runs aground in the film.

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