The Broken Land [Las Rojas]— HSBC Spanish Film Festival 2023

Review by Michele E. Hawkins.

Carlota (Mercedes Morán) is famous in the paleontological world for her finds of the remains of a creature who is likened to a griffin.  Though Carlota insists that it is not a griffin, the nature of the bones captures the media’s imagination, and much is made of this mysterious creature.  But it’s been years since Carlota’s last find, and Constanza (Natalia Oreiro) is sent from the foundation that is funding the research in the Andes mountains to investigate her work.

Constanza arrives a day earlier than expected at the research site, and she and Carlota immediately get off to a bad start.  Constanza’s ignorance is writ large in everything she does, and she certainly seems incapable of learning.  But these mistakes are as nothing when compared with the seriousness of her having permitted Freddy (Diego Velázquez) entry in order to conduct research in the National park.  Knowing what Freddy is really up to and what disaster will follow if he succeeds, Carlota and her dearest friend and supporter, Isidro (Alberto Leiva), set off to avert him.  Constanza goes with them, unfortunately continuing to fail to learn along the way.

The secret that Carlotta is determined to protect and that Freddy is determined to profit from is mighty indeed.  In fact, it’s worth whatever it takes to either keep from the outside world or make a fortune from.  Thus a game of cat and mouse ensues, the stakes mounting with every passing hour.

The Broken Land is a story about, on the one hand, the value of scientific discovery in furthering our understanding of the natural world, and, on the other hand, unmitigated greed, pursuit of riches, and sheer disregard for anything or anyone who gets in the way: the same prize, two opposing forces, and lives in the balance.

Mercedes Morán gives a fine performance as Carlota, a seasoned field scientist driven to uncover the past whilst protecting the present.  Alberto Leiva portrays a man who, like Carlota, holds the secrets of the land so dear that he is willing to protect it with his life.

Natalia Oreiro gives a good performance as Constanza.  The distraction of her character’s stupidity and inability to recognise and learn from her mistakes is unnecessary, and the story could have led to the same or an even better outcome with a more nuanced script; but over all The Broken Land is rewarding, the performances are excellent, and the panoramic views it offers of Argentina’s Andean regions are spectacular.

Screening at Palace cinemas.

Liked it? Take a second to support BMA Magazine on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply