Alicia en el país tells the story of a young girl of the Quechua tribe, who in 2004 left her village in South Bolivia and walked for 180 kilometres to look for a job in San Pedro de Atacama, a tourist town in North Chile. Due to the very difficult economic conditions of her family she was forced to take this unbelievable journey, walking for days and days through this vast land, but also through distant memories, following the invisible path that has already been tracked by hundreds of her Quechua ancestors. The film is based on a true story and its real protagonist; it shows an almost dreamlike journey, where the rhythms, silences, noises and music take on the shape of the young girl’s inner world. Alicia’s journey through this magic world, both mental and physical, will lead her to cross the border between childhood and adulthood. Memories reveal that the purpose of the journey is not only determined by economic necessities; it also represents an important spiritual initiation ritual, a compulsory and symbolic passage to the adult age, which has its roots in the Inca culture. Esteban Larraín follows the girl with his camera during her long and tiring journey, showing the extreme difficulty of the journey, but also the deep sharing with a land and environment to be discovered, mutable and wonderful.
Esteban Larraín was born in Chile in 1973. He studied journalism at the Universidad de Chile. He attended cinema courses in Italy and Cuba and took a Master degree in Political Sciences at the University Paris VIII. Since 1997 he has written, directed and produced his own films. He made his debut with Patio 29 (1998), a documentary film on human rights in Chile for which he was awarded several international prizes, including one for best documentary film at the Festival in Friburgo. In 2000 he made his second film, Ralco, about the resistance of a South American Indian community to the pressure of an electricity company, which was presented in over twenty international festivals. Alicia en el país can be considered his first full-length fiction film.