Patagonia (film)

Patagonia is a 2010 British-Argentine drama film co-written and directed by Marc Evans.[1] The story centers on Welsh and Argentine people connected to "Y Wladfa", the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, Argentina. The film stars several well-known Welsh actors including Matthew Rhys, Nia Roberts and the singer Duffy. It premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on 10 June 2010 and had its UK premiere in Cardiff on 4 March 2011.[2]

Promotional poster
Directed byMarc Evans
Produced byRebekah Gilbertson
Flora Fernandez-Marengo
Written byLaurence Coriat
Marc Evans
StarringMatthew Rhys
Nia Roberts
Music byJoseph LoDuca
CinematographyRobbie Ryan
Edited byMali Evans
Rainy Day Films
Distributed byVerve Pictures (UK)
Release date
  • 10 June 2010 (2010-06-10) (SIFF)
  • 4 March 2011 (2011-03-04) (UK)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

It was selected as the British entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards,[3][4] but it did not make the final shortlist.[5]


Gwen and Rhys are a Welsh-speaking couple living in Cardiff where Rhys works as a photographer and Gwen is employed as a historical interpreter at a local Welsh cultural centre. Gwen is also an aspiring actress and although she periodically attends auditions, she has yet to be hired for a theatrical part. The couple's inability to conceive a child has caused increasing tension between them. Hoping to reinvigorate their relationship, the pair decide to travel together to southern Argentina where Rhys has been commissioned to photograph the historic Welsh chapels in Patagonia, a vast windswept landscape which was a destination for Welsh immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While there, they are served by their local Welsh-Argentine guide, Mateo.

Meanwhile, an elderly Welsh-Argentine woman named Cerys is planning a trip to Wales to discover the farm where her mother was raised before emigrating to Patagonia during the 1920s. She decides to take along her agoraphobic young neighbour Alejandro to assist her. In Wales, he finds romance with a local girl, Sissy.[6]



Matthew Rhys found out about the role under unusual circumstances. In 2005, he was in Patagonia on horseback with descendants of the region's original Welsh settlers;[7] during the trip, he crossed path with director Marc Evans, who was there scouting for locations.[1]


Following a screening at the 2010 Mill Valley Film Festival, Dennis Harvey of Variety said "Patagonia unspools two parallel narratives connected only by a historical anomaly .... While its separate parts may not quite add up, they complement each other quite pleasingly." He also notes "Evans nimbly cuts between the two unhurried threads, which form a nice textural contrast in d.p. Robbie Ryan's lensing of the disparate landscapes—one all lush, verdant hills, the other rich in desert hues. Jumping back and forth also helps balance out stories that might have seemed insubstantial if each stood alone."[8] Another critic at Mill Valley, Sura Wood of The Hollywood Reporter, called it an "intermittently diverting road movie, whose alternation between parallel storylines grows tedious over the course of its two-hour running time"; Patagonia is "somewhat redeemed by gorgeous cinematography of far flung locations not often seen in movies, and fine performances from its cast."[9]

The Independent described it as "two road movies for the price of one, running the parallel stories of pilgrims on a search for identity"; the film is "wonderfully shot by Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank)" and "displays a lyrical sensitivity both to the desert landscapes of Patagonia and to the remote, rain-glazed hills of Wales, and the unlikeliness of their ancient connection (the Welsh settled in Patagonia in 1865) becomes rather moving."[10]

See also


  1. Booth, Hannah (2 March 2011). "Matthew Rhys: from Patagonia with love". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  2. Waldram, Hannah (8 March 2011). "Patagonia – Cardiff film locations". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  3. Dawtrey, Adam (13 October 2011). "U.K. enters 'Patagonia' for Oscars". Variety. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  4. "63 Countries Vie for 2011 Foreign Language Film Oscar". Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  5. "9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar". AMPAS. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  6. Patagonia Archived 26 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine Seattle International Film Festival. Retrieved on 4 September 2010
  7. "Introduction". Patagonia: Crossing the Plain. ISBN 1848511973. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. In October 2005, actor Matthew Rhys set out on the hardest journey of his life. He joined a group of the toughest men he had ever met, for a gruelling 700km, month-long trek, across the South American country of Patagonia, tracing the footsteps of an elite band of intrepid Welshmen known as Los Rifleros.
  8. Harvey, Dennis (18 October 2010). "Mill Valley: Patagonia (Wales-Argentina)". Variety. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  9. Wood, Sura (29 October 2010). "Patagonia – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  10. Quinn, Anthony (4 March 2011). "Matthew Rhys: from Patagonia with love". London: The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
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