As part of our collaboration with Sheffield DocFest in 2021, we curated a special retrospective of cinematic portraits by Colombian-Brazilian experimental filmmaker Paula Gaitán. We're now happy to follow it up with two of her audacious epics.


The two titles in this double bill of Gaitán movies show an altogether different side to her work. Switching registers away from the intense portraiture that occupied her for the better part of a decade, Gaitán here turns to the epic canvases of landscape and history. In The Volcano Exiles Gaitán traces an impressionistic, acidic pathway through memory and desire, as one woman pieces together an entire life out of photographs salvaged from a fire.

With the more than 4-hour Light in the Tropics, available on DAFilms only until November 8th, her ambition lead her to a place operating on an altogether different scale: the rich greens of the Amazon rainforest and the wintry forests of New England. Only Gaitán could make this epic historical vision, which has shades of Glauber Rocha's The Age of the Earth, on which Gaitán served as art director, work in quite this way, unfolding before our eyes as a shimmering tapestry of light, color, and a thousand indeliable sensations of life.

For a more comprehensive introduction to Gaitán's cinema, you can read this long interview with Paula Gaitán, translated by Juliano Gomes and Christopher Small as part of the Sheffield DocFest collaboration.

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