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45 Years in Isolation | Close Up

A quarantined filmmaker seeks guidance from a longtime cave dweller as they explore the many meanings of isolation.

High in the mountains of Tucuman province in northwest Argentina, 83-year-old Pedro Luca has been living alone in a cave for 45 years.

Filmmaker Mathieu Orcel first travelled to Argentina in June 2018 to make a documentary about Pedro’s life.

At the beginning of this year, Mathieu went back to finish filming but found himself quarantined in Buenos Aires, far from the mountains of Tucuman.

Facing isolation in an apartment, he sought advice from Pedro on how to live alone in coronavirus quarantine.

“It’s here, withdrawn from the world, that our spiritual path opens up,” Pedro said.

Communicating via video calls, Mathieu was able to continue his documentary with the help of Pedro’s nephew and a local filmmaker.

The film reveals Mathieu and Pedro’s contrasting experiences as they discover what it means to be isolated.

“We suffer from loneliness and isolation, stalked by coronavirus. But in the cave, the predator that threatens Pedro’s only companions, the goats that choose to stay with him, is the cougar that always prowls, invisible”, Mathieu reflects.


Filmmaker: Mathieu Orcel

Script: Agustin Muñiz, Mathieu Orcel

2nd Camera Unit: Mauricio Asial

Music producer: Lucy Patané

Field Producers: Agustin Muñiz, Mathieu Orcel

Producer: Ala Alhussan

Executive Producer: Andrew Phillips

Production Company: IKÔN Production