By Sidney Butler
“Viaje,” which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, is the story of Luciana (Kattia González) and Pedro (Fernando Bolaños), two young adults who spontaneously meet at a party and embark on a journey together into the lush wilderness where they challenge the idea of love, obligations, and relationship norms. Timelessness and intimacy collide in this dreamlike portrayal of spontaneity and romance. Paz Fábrega, the writer and director, discussed the inspiration for the piece and how every aspect of the film, from its characters to its beautiful setting of Rincon de la Vieja, helped develop the story.
Shot in beautiful black and white, the story holds a wandering quality like that of Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy. The focus of the story is always where the characters might go and how they act and react to one another before the viewer’s eyes.
“I think one thing that helped was that [Katia and Fernando] were into bodily things, like contact dance and yoga, and things like that so they were very comfortable with contact, and very sensitive to each other,” Fábrega said.
The wandering quality of the piece is partially attributed to Fábrega’s approach to shooting the film alongside her cinematographer, Esteban Chinchilla. The scenes are handheld, intimate and forever revolving around its characters.
“We shot it in a very free way. We were using two Canon Mark II cameras so Steban had one and I had one, and we would just set up the scene and we would sometimes not even check each other’s frames and we would try to go around each other and it was very free. I think we shot it more like a documentary.”
Even in production, the film unfolded in a naturalistic way, as the actors themselves began to embody the characters. Fábrega mentions her uncertainty with how the film would eventually turn out, unsure of how she wanted Luciana and Pedro’s journey to end. The aimless quality of the film not only bleeds into the main character arch of Luciana, but also encompasses the piece to the point that it is no surprise when Luciana decides to leave Pedro, to return back home to San Jose, feeling confused and lost.
“I think it was really important to me that she was afraid of commitment. They both are, and when she realizes that she’s feeling really important things she realizes she has to get away. When it begins to be too much she had to get away and it felt true to her character.”
“Viaje” is a beautiful portrayal of a modern romance without the kitsch pop cultural references or mumblecore dialogue seen in most indie love stories. Holding a dreamlike realism, Paz Fábrega paints a minimalistic black and white portrait of young love and manages to capture a chance encounter in the most pure and simplistic way.
Sidney Butler is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.