Recently I had the chance to watch the film premiere of the new film Patagonia at the London Film Festival, which made me realise, if I still had any doubt, that Patagonia is not to be missed… and for that matter, neither is Wales!

The movie is a coming-of-age tale centred around the Welsh/Patagonian diaspora as it follows two Argentineans who set out for Wales and a Welsh couple making the journey the other way around. The Argentinean pair comprises a somewhat shy, unadventurous teenager and his elderly neighbour who convinces (well, practically abducts) the absent-minded boy into travelling to Wales to help her find the farm where her mother was born. In the other storyline, which runs parallel, a photographer is joined on assignment by his girlfriend, only to find that things between them are not as solid as they appear. It seems they may not overcome the challenges that the beautiful, arid pampas of Argentina throw at them (namely an interesting looking gaucho).

The movie, as I later found from the words of the director himself, Marc Evans, was inspired by a true journey taken by the director. As a Welshman the mixed identities of the area fascinated him and inspired him to make a movie in which he could tell two different stories in two different landscapes and two different languages – Spanish and Welsh.

There are no recognizable stars other than the singer Duffy, but I found the movie well-acted and the screenplay generally solid, with the more dramatic parts strewn with just enough humour to keep things light. I did think that the plot for both stories becomes slightly absurd towards the end and that to me spoiled what was otherwise a faultless movie. The highlight was the photography and the way it portrayed the stunning and unique Patagonian landscape. Having been to Argentina myself, but not lucky enough to have made it so far south, it truly whetted my appetite to travel to this part of the world – even more tempting now in the middle of the season (Otober to April). But I guess if I can’t make it out there in the next few months, I certainly will be considering the green hills and quaint villages of Wales as an alternative.

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