On the Saturday before last my burning desire to go to Patagonia was fanned into a fever pitch blaze. Two days later I decided that I should move to Norway. Then on Thursday I fell in love with an abandoned puppy, found on a lonely desert roadside in the American Southwest. The outdoor film season has begun and so far it has left me feeling a bewildering combination of adventure inadequacy and passionate enthusiasm to get on the road.
Hand planes made from recycled marine debris decorated the wall next to the main screen
It all started with some surf films. This is the second year that the Approaching Lines film festival has run and the first time I had ever been. Featuring a mixture of art, film, and Q&A’s with directors, the atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming and the crowd kept the froth-o-meter gauge (see below) consistently high. The film selection was pretty good, but for me the stand out features of the evening were ‘Stephanie in the water’ directed by Ava Warbrick and ‘Tierra De Patagones’ shot, directed and starring the life loving Gauchos del Mar. The former documents the life of Stephanie Gilmore, for those who don’t know she is the worlds top ranking female surfer, and it was refreshing to watch talented and highly competitive women being the sole focus of the lens.
The emphasis of ‘Tierra del patagonia’ was about as far removed from the world of competitive surfing as you can get, but equally as engaging. It follows the Azulay brothers as they travel round the coast of Patagonia, by land and sea, chasing waves, wildlife and the stories of its people. Already the recipient of a slew of awards, the film charmed me from the start. The cinematography is wonderful, making the wild and beautiful landscape of Patagonia a character in itself rather than a meer backdrop to the gauchos’ adventures. The surfing, though the driving force of the trip, never dominates the screen and seems increasingly incidental as the film progresses and they meet more and more people and explore new areas. Animals abound and the intrepid surfers seemed to be perpetually tripping over penguins and bumping into sealions in their effort to reach a break. Unlike 180o South no environmental messages were articulated but the raw, untamed majesty of the place and its teeming wildlife, as portrayed by the film was a message equally as powerful, to me at least. You must watch this film. Everyone you know must watch this film. It is natural beauty and travel, with some great surfing as the cherry on top of the perfectly iced cake.