In the Esé Eja indigenous community of Palma Real, Peru, things are very simple. Settled on the banks of the Amazon, the Esé Eja or “Real People” are considered protectors of the spirits of the Amazonian jungle. They live in simple thatched roof houses and spend their time fishing or playing football.
Carlito (Carlito Terira Meshi) is growing tired of his environment, but we don’t necessarily know why, though it makes sense for people to not want to live in the same place their entire life. He visits someone who I believe to be either his mother or grandmother and tells her that he is leaving. She understands, knowing that he is “different” from everyone else in the village.
In a short eight minutes, we find out why Carlito is different and why he steals a makeshift powerboat to get the hell out of town. His reasoning is solid and the imagery behind his escape is powerful.
“…we find out why Carlito is different and why he steals a makeshift powerboat to get the hell out of town.”
Quentin Lazzarotto captures the beauty of the Amazon and its indigenous peoples as well as the desire for change with grand elegance. Lazzarotto is typically a documentarian, and with the way Carlito Leaves Forever is executed, one could glean that this is a true event. It walks a tightrope between documentary and fictional narrative that is nearly impossible to distinguish. He is currently working on two long-form documentaries and I, for one, am very intrigued to see them.
Carlito Leaves Forever is a great short because at the end it leaves you wanting more, while not leaving any loose ends untied. It’s a grandiose statement about love and the desire to escape. It’s an eight minutes of my life that I certainly didn’t regret spending on a film.
Carlito Leaves Forever (2019) Written and Directed by Quentin Lazzarotto. Starring Carlito Tirira Meshi. Carlito Leaves Forever screened at 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
8 out of 10 stars