Victoria Film Festival Review – QUEEN OF THE ANDES

In QUEEN OF THE ANDES we follow Pillar Grant. We first meet in awkwardly setup interview, of which both participants seem a little in over their heads. She turns the interview into a tribute to her own studies. She is overjoyed to continue the related projects, but quickly finds those plans made irrelevant.

We learn that Pillar has been abruptly, and unwillingly, recruited to an interplanetary relocation program: Generation One. The program is not all that it seems, and has prompted strong protests. We don’t see all the public upset, but enough that it proliferates in Pillar’s life.

People are drafted based on data analysis, and have no say in the decision. They are even assigned an opposite sex partner with the expectation of bearing children.

The film is much more about Pillar’s reaction to the decision made without her consent, than it is the operation itself. Solemn scenes add the input of strangers as overheard conversations.

At times the sense of dread is so great that it almost warrants a break, yet at other times the idea of leaving Earth is nearly forgotten amidst relationship quandaries.

The Queen of the Andes is revealed to be a flower. Viewers with knowledge of botany might make the connection from the title. The specific flower, and flowers to a greater extent, are used as metaphor for how one could feel in Pillar’s position. The metaphor is clarified through conversations: we always look to the sky, family is connected regardless of distance, does isolation prioritise primal needs, and how much work is needed to make it grow?

The time of the film is difficult to place, as someone familiar with science fiction ideas, paper documentation and flip phones belie an age of advanced space exploration, but it isn’t the focus. We ultimately see how being part of a community is of utmost importance. Twists happen to show us that isolation and self reliance are not always best.

There is an underlying commentary on dystopian society. Is this a place we could end up, and would we allow it? Have we come so far in human rights, and equality, only to have them treated as such transitory things.

From director Jillian Acreman, QUEEN OF THE ANDES shows us a raw portrayal of a person in crisis. The setting is a society of great opportunities, yet one of near subjugation. The film presents many meandering, coincidental events, that form the greater whole. There are moments of great joy, as is there a pervasive dread, which some might find overwhelming.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

The 2021 edition of Victoria Festival is entirely virtual this year, and the entire lineup is available to all citizens of British Columbia! For more information and to purchase virtual tickets to a screening of BIG NORTH, visit the official site now.

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