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The Independent Critic

Alfred Eaker, James Mannan
Alfred Eaker and James Mannan
Alfred Eaker


 "La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura" Review  
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La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura is yet the latest short film to be given birth by the extraordinary and experimental mind of Alfred Eaker, one of Indy's most unique and spiritual voices who, quite sadly, recently relocated in following a sense of call and purpose to Portland, Oregon.

Indy's loss is Portland's gain.

Uniting once again with frequent collaborator James Mannan, another unique voice with whom I was blessed to share some academic time in theatrical studies, Eaker serves up this 12-minute experimental short film weaving together the lives of artists Paul Gauguin (Eaker) and Vincent Van Gogh (Mannan). This time, however, we aren't served up the usual essays about Van Gogh's impulsive and self-destructive behavior but instead are privvy to their aesthetic and spiritual struggles, struggles that are often spoken through words taken from their actual correspondence.

La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura isn't mainstream cinema. I'd venture a guess that 95% of the people who'd watch it at a mainstream cinema would find it either boring, heady, pretentious, or they'd just plain say "it sucks."

It doesn't suck.

I must confess that given Eaker's longstanding history of intelligent and searching cinema, there's something positively awesome about giving him the movie poster quote "It doesn't suck."

The film is intentionally more impressionistic in presentation, forsaking a sense of historicity and realism in favor of a film that more closely reflects the artistic natures of the artists portrayed. Gauguin and Van Gogh are known to have had a turbulent relationship, a turbulence captured nicely in the performances of Eaker and Mannan in both words and images.

La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura is, for as intelligent and insightful as it is, a remarkably straightforward and even simple film about two artists and their lifelong journeys through ego, Gauguin, and impulsivity, Van Gogh. Having screened at Anderson, Indiana's Homegrown Hoosier Film Festival not long before Eaker's departure, it is a film that leaves us with one last road trip on Alfred Eaker's artistic journey.

I've enjoyed the ride.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic