Dir. Felipe Gálvez Haberle
2023, Chile, 97 min
English and Spanish with English subtitles
In his searing first feature, Chilean director Felipe Gálvez Haberle presents the painful experience of young Segundo sent on a bloody mission to clear an expanse of land of Indigenous people for the powerful, relentless man who owns it.
The vast, unforgiving landscapes of Patagonia — the “end of the earth” — are the perfect backdrop for a story that can read almost like a classic western for its forceful impulse to capture the mad drive of white men to conquer and dominate everything at any cost. The impeccable production design gets the audience closer and closer to the film’s burning core of absurdity and painful contradiction, making history almost too real to stomach.
But the human toll of such barbarism crucially connects the events to Segundo’s silent gaze — at times inquisitive, at others fearful — in contrast to the perverse outlook of the landowner Menéndez (the unmissable Alfredo Castro), helping us remember that, almost as a rule, history has been told from the perspective of the so-called victors. – TIFF
Content warning: This film includes challenging and/or triggering subject matter, scenes of sexual assault and gendered violence, racism and brutal colonial violence.
“The film is a blistering laceration of the contradictions and hypocrisies of European racism.” – Jake Cole, Slant Magazine
“A brutal, chilling indictment of capitalist colonialism, The Settlers mixes shocking violence with acute apathy.” – Laura Babiak, Observer