Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

REVIEW | A Geologist Finds Solace in "I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You"

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire March 25, 2011 at 11:09AM

There's something primal about the moving-image travelogue. One of the original genres of moviemaking, it made a comeback in the home-video footage now considered a hallmark of documentaries' montage sequences. "I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You" personalizes the charm of observational B-roll through experimental narrative. A delicate Brazilian assemblage that follows a lonely geologist as he wanders through the barren terrain of northeastern Brazil, it takes the shape of an intimate diary reminiscent of work by Chris Marker or Jonas Mekas.
0

There's something primal about the moving-image travelogue. One of the original genres of moviemaking, it made a comeback in the home-video footage now considered a hallmark of documentaries' montage sequences. "I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You" personalizes the charm of observational B-roll through experimental narrative. A delicate Brazilian assemblage that follows a lonely geologist as he wanders through the barren terrain of northeastern Brazil, it takes the shape of an intimate diary reminiscent of work by Chris Marker or Jonas Mekas.

The men behind the camera, Marcelo Gomes and Karim Aïnouz, take us from dusty highways to bustling villages in pile-up of sights and sounds that illustrate the isolation of their unseen and pensive protagonist, José Renato. In the process, the directors create such an impressive atmosphere that it's easy to forget the entire movie constitutes a work of fiction.

The pensive 35-year-old is pining for the affections of his botanist ex-wife, "Blondie." Complaining of the "dead-end labyrinth" that traps his psyche, José starts to see his sadness as a part of a greater cycle visible in the nature and nameless faces surrounding him. He spends an extended period focusing on the women he encounters for solace along the way, then returns to the indifferent geography as if to show that no dalliance can cure his deeper sense of insignificance.

The visual collage retains a consistent melancholy, resulting in an experience that's both deeply affecting and -- since José never actually appears on-camera -- utterly detached. The movie could be viewed sans sound and still convey the same underlying mood. "The repetition," Renato says of the places he goes, "just underscores the monotony of the landscape." He's exactly right, but his plight shows how even monotony has its magnificence.

A plot summary can't fully relate the hypnotic effect of watching the world through Renato's eyes, but the sheer beauty of the things counteracts his neurotic outlook. "I Travel" concludes as a paean to the eternal comfort that nature provides. At one point Renato whines, "The truth is, it's me I can't stand," but thanks to the fantastic images that surround his evocative ruminations, they never overstay their welcome.

HOW WILL IT PLAY? Although well reviewed on the festival circuit, "I Travel" is too experimental for widespread appeal. However, it should be embraced by viewers with a soft spot for avant-garde film.

criticWIRE grade: A-


"I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Miss You" opens today at Anthology Film Archives.

This article is related to: In Theaters






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More