To escape the crisis in Venezuela, and his alcoholism, Roque retreats into the Amazon jungle to renovate a cabin he built during happier times. There he finds his old friends now involved in illegal gold mining. Roque's desire for redemption clashes with an increasingly violent environment, and he must reach deep inside himself to find a way out.
- Prix du Jury - Festival de Biarritz Amérique Latine
- Jorge Roque Thielen
- Yoni Naranjo
- Carlos “Fagua” Medina
- Rodrigo Michelangeli
- Rodrigo Michelangeli
- Felipe Guerrero
- Leila Bordreuil
My father was away for seven years in the Amazon during the ‘90s. He built a tourist lodge with the help of the Pemón tribe, where tourists from all over the world later arrived; he prepared their meals and took them on adventure excursions. It was his dream come true. But his success faded along with Venezuela’s tourism industry; its appeal was lost due to crime and political instability. Trying to hold on to his dreams and wanting to prove himself worthy, my father decided to remain in the Amazon to pursue illegal gold mining, an endeavor that almost cost him his life. I visited when I was young, it was the only way I could spend time with him. The visions of swimming in the river with my indigenous friends are still vivid, and father’s legends about tepuy mountains once being giant trees never left my mind. Father once kicked me out of our hut in the middle of the night; he was drinking. I still remember the stars ahead of me that night, not above, for the air was clear of nearby lights.
Inspired by the true stories of my father, LA FORTALEZA follows his return to the Amazon jungle to rebuild our abandoned tourist lodge—and to rebuild himself in an attempt to quit drinking. Making the film became a way for my father and I to confront the distance between us, the pains of the past, and the inner violence this has unleashed. I set out in search of fortitude, to immortalize my father and a place I can no longer recognize in memories.
- REEL SUSPECTS
- LA FAENA FILMS
A bold and distinctive directorial vision.
A solemn tale of exile and redemption.
Thielen Armand has tremendous efficiency in his storytelling style, which allows him to concentrate on the character study, rather than impose a plot.
Goes beyond the blend of documentary and fiction, to investigate how crisis situations affect the souls of those who live them.
A feverish voyage of discovery through the hinterland between madness and salvation, La Fortaleza is a superb second feature from Venezuelan director Jorge Thielen Armand...The film is an almost Herzogian endurance test for the lead actor, the director’s father.
It was one of the most intense things I’ve ever done in my life,” says Armand of directing his father, adding that there was an element of improvisation, with him holding back the script and only talking about scenes right before they started shooting them. Armand said that he wanted the film to help act as an “archive” of Venezuela, which he left at 15 and says he now no longer recognizes.
In this film the work of La Soledad is deepened, with real problems of the filmmaker's relatives in Venezuela, played by the same people involved in them, and with reproduction of home films and photos that confirm the truth that inspires fiction. The dreams of the main character are also represented again, with which Thielen goes beyond documentary fiction, to investigate how crisis situations affect the souls of those who go through them. Abbas Kiarostami and Apichatpong Weerasethakul are obvious references in La Soledad.
My films have been a vehicle to immortalize my family and my memories of a land I can no longer recognize.
Jorge Thielen Armand was born in Caracas, Venezuela. His work has been presented at the Venice IFF, Rotterdam, the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Istanbul Biennial, Filmfest München, BAFICI, Durban IFF, the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, among others. His latest feature film LA FORTALEZA (IFF Rotterdam, 2020) premiered to critical acclaim in Rotterdam, where it was nominated for the Tiger Award. His first feature film LA SOLEDAD (Venice IFF, 2016) won the French Critics’ Prize in Biarritz and the Audience Award for Best Film in Miami IFF, followed by numerous awards at festivals worldwide. The film was released in UK cinemas by the ICA and MUBI. His documentary FLOR DE LA MAR (Sarasota IFF, 2015) screened at the 39th Margaret Mead Festival and won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short at Cine Las Americas IFF in Austin. Jorge founded La Faena Films with Rodrigo Michelangeli, a production company dedicated to art-house films based in Caracas and Toronto. Jorge is an alumnus of the Venice Biennale College, TIFF Studio, and Berlinale Talents. He is currently developing a new film at the Torino Film Lab.