2023 / drama / Chile, Argentina, France, Denmark, UK, Taiwan / Color / status : completed / English, Spanish / long feature-film / International catalogue
Chile, 1901. Three horsemen are hired by a rich landowner to mark out the perimeter of his expansive property. The expedition, composed of a young Chilean half blood, an American mercenary, and led by a reckless British lieutenant, soon turns into a “civilizing” raid.
In his awaited début feature, Felipe Gálvez explores a crucial part of Chile’s colonial past in a visually stunning period drama that highlights the difference between truth and history.
A Quijote Films, Rei Cine, Snowglobe, Quiddity Films, CinéSud Production, coproduction with Film i Väst, TAICCA
“A Chilean Killers of the Flower Moon companion piece. Felipe Gálvez's masterful debut offers an alternative artistic road map for dealing with historical horrors. In a tight 98 minutes, The Settlers says more than a lot of films double its length. It’s one of the most chilling art-Westerns to come along in some time, as provocative for its ideas, dialogue, and characterizations, as for the beauty of its empty landscapes. He’s made a message movie that isn’t a message movie. And as beautiful as many of the images are, some compositions shot like Dutch masters paintings by cinematographer Simone D’Arcangelo, it never comes across like Indigenous suffering is just the fodder for art. The Settlers, for all its artistry, is also a deeply felt work of activism with a message that needs to be heard in Chile. This is a film that shows that, as easy as it is to forget about the past, it’s easier still when it was never taught in the first place.”
“PROVOCATIVE. Gálvez uses the template of a Western to tell his story, although it’s a Western carried by a postcolonial critique that gradually takes on the viewpoint of its sole Indigenous character, Segundo. Shot in the Academy format by Simone D’Arcangelo, the film looks like an artifact from an older time, slowly zooming and panning across the monumental landscapes where the journey takes place. Yet while its stylings are purposely retro, its aims are very much of the here and now. This is a film that digs deep into Chile’s colonial past — especially during a closing section that transforms the story into one of historical reckoning.”
The Hollywood Reporter
“A scorching Western on Chile’s blood-soaked national myth. Tonally, the imposingly assured debut feature from writer-director Felipe Gálvez. With the grittily stylized The Settlers, an artist obliterates all sugarcoating to exhibit a burdensome truth.”
“Felipe Galvez’s ambitious feature debut confronts a brutal period in Chilean colonial history. It’s the work of a daring director intent on developing a distinctive and original voice. Arancibia is a compelling presence in a predominantly silent and reactive role.”