You may have noticed a change in actor Viggo Mortensen in the last decade. His last major studio effort was “A History of Violence” in 2005 but… it was a David Cronenberg project. Aside from mini-major studio projects like The Weinstein Company‘s "The Road" and Sony Pictures Classics "A Dangerous Method" (both of them still relatively small, limited release pictures), the actor has avoided major studio work, and in recent years, that’s been even more pronounced.
Earlier this year, he starred in the spare and minimalist "Jauja," a Danish language film set in Argentina in which no English was spoken (Mortensen produced). Before that, he starred and produced in another off-the-beaten-path picture set in Argentina, “Everybody Has a Plan.” A renaissance man —publisher, poet, musician, photographer and painter— Mortensen even composed his first score for “Jauja” as well.
It seems that Mortensen is participating in whatever project he wants, which is a nice position to be in. The actor’s got one more foreign language film coming up: “Far from Men” is the sophomore effort of director David Oelhoffen (2007’s “In Your Wake”) and adapts a short story by Albert Camus ("L’Hôte" from the book "L’Exil et le Royaume"). Mortensen plays a reclusive teacher who helps a villager accused of murder (Reda Kateb from “Zero Dark Thirty” and “A Prophet”) escape into the mountains during the Algerian War. As we’ve already noted, this is also one to watch because the score was composed by the great Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (“The Assassination of Jesse James,” and “The Road” are just a few examples).
Here’s the film’s official synopsis:
Algeria, 1954. While the rebellion rumbles in the valley, two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil, are forced to flee together across the Atlas mountains. In the midst of an icy winter, Daru, the reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder. Pursued by horsemen seeking summary justice and vengeful settlers, the two men decide to affront the unknown. Together, they fight to gain their freedom.
The movie is making its world premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival and will also unspool at the Toronto International Film Festival as a special presentation. The first trailer for the movie has been released and it looks intriguing. TIFF describes the film as a “gripping vision of existential crisis amid political and natural turmoil” and surely arthouse buyers at both festivals are going to be interested. Watch the trailer below and check out new photos as well.