“One of the most chilling art-Westerns to come along in some time.” (IndieWire)
This striking Chilean western (a southern?) was acclaimed as one of the highlights at Cannes this year. Set in 1901 on the Patagonian pampas, a local sheep baron – the King of the White Gold – sends three men out to blaze a trail to the ocean. The party is comprised of a Scottish lieutenant, a North American mercenary, and a silent Chilean mestizo from Chiloe Island. Their task is to establish peace for the pastoral industry, a peace that requires the extermination of the indigenous people who face the loss of everything, but most importantly, their dignity. This is a familiar story for us in Australia with Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country (2017) so profoundly depicting the devastating impact of colonisation. Shaped at first by sweeping vistas of sky, mountain, and grasslands and driven by a spare percussive score, The Settlers gives way to brooding interiors as it moves, as all westerns must, from the wilderness to the mixed blessings of civilisation.
“Felipe Gálvez’s masterful debut offers an alternative artistic road map for dealing with historical horrors. In a tight 97 minutes, The Settlers says more than a lot of films double its length.” (IndieWire)
“As provocative for its ideas, dialogue, and characterizations, as for the beauty of its empty landscapes…The Settlers, for all its artistry, is also a deeply felt work of activism with a message that needs to be heard.” (IndieWire)
“…a film that digs deep into Chile’s colonial past — especially during a closing section that transforms the story into one of historical reckoning.” (Hollywood Reporter)
“A scorching Western on Chile’s blood-soaked national myth. Tonally, the imposingly assured debut feature from writer-director Felipe Gálvez.” (The Playlist)
“…the work of a daring director intent on developing a distinctive and original voice.” (Screen International)