The ambitious feature debut from Mexican director Carlos Reygadas is an enigmatic parable about a lame, unnamed man from Mexico City (Alejandro Ferretis) who heads to the countryside to commit suicide.
A group of hunters direct him to a remote village overlooking a canyon. There he finds lodgings with elderly, uneducated widow Ascen (Magdalena Flores), whose relatives are cheating her out of her property. The days slip by and, affected by the kindness of his host, the stranger rediscovers his will to live...
Inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky's mystical epics, Reygadas has fashioned a slow-burning meditation on life and death, faith and rebirth, in which the saintly figure of Ascen allows the possibility for another's redemption. Peopled by an entirely non-professional cast, Japón may frustrate some viewers with its leisurely pacing and brooding silences. But even the most mainstream multiplex-goer will be bowled over by the stunning, otherworldly landscapes, their bleached tones lending the movie a rare elegance.
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