Through Rocks And Clouds


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Through Rocks And Clouds
"Becerra’s film is a measured affair that takes pleasure in its surroundings, whether it’s the mountain lakeside where the alpacas graze or the warm intimacy of Felciano’s home."

If you want to pick a cute animal to wander about at the heart of your film, alpacas are hard to beat - none more so than an alpaca named Ronaldo who has star billing here and who will even get a haircut matching his footballer namesake in good time. This Peruvian drama from Franco García Becerra is shot in the Quecha language and features both similarly stunning landscapes and cute alpacas to those captured in Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s Bolivian-set Utama.

The film also shares some of its environmental underpinning with Grisi’s film about the challenges faced by those who live in these sorts of rural areas, although Becerra’s film is much more family-friendly. Older children will love eight-year-old Feliciano (Alberth Merma), who has two passions in his life - his alpacas, which he herds with his dog Rambo, and, as you might guess from his favourite alpaca’s name, football. With Peru on track for the World Cup finals, it seems like a dream come true. But there are more high stakes battles being fought closer to home concerning the pollution of the local lake and the plundering of the natural resources by a mining firm at the expense of the indigenous population.

Copy picture

Anchored in the reality of its young star, there’s a winning naturalism as the action gently unfolds. This is tempered by the inclusion of a mythic element, the Auki Tayta land spirit, an expression of the young protagonist’s imagination, who Feliciano notes is “angered” by the theft of his riches without his permission and walks around and “eats whatever he finds”. This mythical creature, which has horns and a shaggy appearance when viewed from a distance, has a hint of danger to him but to the degree that it’s likely to thrill younger audiences rather than give them nightmares.

“Money changes people’s hearts,” Feliciano’s mum tells him. The evidence soon bears her out as the mining company resorts to dirty tactics, which those with sensitive children should note does involve the death, though not explicit, of some animals. Meanwhile, Feliciano is facing his own drama involving his pet. Becerra’s film is a measured affair that takes pleasure in its surroundings, whether it’s the mountain lakeside where the alpacas graze or the warm intimacy of Felciano’s home. It’s also a film that’s built on messages about the environment and community that can be appreciated by all generations wrapped in a charm that’s as warm and inviting as Ronaldo’s fur.

Reviewed on: 19 Feb 2024
Share this with others on...
Through Rocks And Clouds packshot
Eight-year-old alpaca farmer Feliciano is ecstatic: Peru has the opportunity to qualify for the World Cup. However, the scheming of a mining company is jeopardising the future of his village.

Director: Franco García Becerra

Writer: Annemarie Gunkel, Alicia Quispe

Starring: José Merma, Albert Merza, Alberth Merma, Rubén Huillca, Nely Huayta Cutipa, Richard Taipe

Year: 2024

Runtime: 83 minutes

Country: Peru, Chile


BIFF 2024

Search database:

Related Articles:

A world in balance