SIFF Review: ‘The Winter’

The Winter focuses on two main characters, that of the gruff silent old foreman of a Patagonian sheep ranch named Evans, played by Alejandro Sieveking, and the serious young man Jara who the owners abruptly hire as foreman to replace Evans after years of his service.  One might call the third most important ‘character’ the bleakly beautiful Patagonian setting.  This film, as fits the isolated setting, inches along slowly and silently, always with palpable tension, as the viewer wonders in what direction the story will go.

Both actors, with minimum dialogue, carry their roles well.  It is not a happy film—indeed a couple scenes are truly painful.  But one is left with considerable food for thought:  how casually the old and obsolete are thrown out for the new, a reminder that many people in this world face harsh realities but some retain their humanity, how life can unwind in cyclical spirals.

The Winter is worth seeing but don’t expect to come out smiling.

Seen at Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) 2017.

By Karen Samdahl
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