THE BOATMAN

EL BARQUERO

By Kris NIKLISON

BASATA FILMS - as PROD

Drama - Development 2015

A boatman carries the inhabitants of a village from one shore to the other of a river. He also helps to land in the other world those who are on the verge of death. When he falls in love with a young woman with a terminal illness, all his beliefs will sink.

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • ARGENTINA, BRAZIL
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 120 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Kris NIKLISON
    • Writer(s)
    • Kris NIKLISON
    • Producer(s)
    • Kris NIKLISON (BASATA FILMS), . . (CASADASARTES FILMS)
    • Synopsis
    • In a hospital room an elderly woman lies on the edge of death. In her last breath, the woman utters the name of Aquino.

      At her funeral, a grandson of hers discovers that in a time and place, as far as it is imprecise, there was a boatman with that name. Solitary and quiet, the man used to cross a big river from one bank to another, passing the inhabitants of the small town he lived in.

      But that was not the only occupation of Aquino. The man also helped the settlers of the region who were on the brink of death. He listened to them, helped them to live out their last wishes, to resolve pending issues, to overcome fear, to detach, to accept.

      Aquino had no method. Without solemnity and with a certain sense of humor, the boatman deeply connected with the dying and gave to each one, intuitively, what they needed.

      In parallel, Aquino's life elapses austerely. The man repairs his boat, washes his clothes, sows, fishes and cooks in the sole company of his donkey Siddharta. Occasionally he receives visits, from the relatives of the dead, they bring the most unusual gifts, and from a foreign journalist, who insists on writing an article about the boatman who "helps to a good death".

      One day, an older woman comes to fetch him, desperate. She brings him to her daughter, a younger woman named Aasia, who is in bed listless. The girl, about 30, is blind and has her days counted. Unable to accept her reality, she is possessed by rage when she receives Aquino. She throws objects at him, yells, kicks him out of her house. The boatman, with his characteristic calmness ignores her aggressiveness and continues to visit her: he tells her stories, gives her sensorial experiences, improvises a makeshift bed in his boat in order to take her around, helps her to dive in the water.

      Meanwhile, the disease progresses unforgiving. The body of the girl keeps deteriorating and she is no longer able to get out of bed. Aquino, faithful, accompanies her.

      As death approaches, an inner strength grows in Aasia. Ironically, the strength and wisdom of Aquino starts to weaken: his efforts that were once to assist in achieving an evolved passage to a new stage for the dying, are now to retain the girl of whom he has fallen in love unimaginably.

      The boatman yells angrily to a cruel and merciless God, he weeps like a child, he starts searching desperately for doctors and healers. In his efforts he loses the boat, the donkey, the way.

      Attached to Aasia desperately, when ultimately she faces her final journey, Aquino looses himself and considers precipitating his departure. He ties a heavy jar to his body and walks into the river.

      At that moment the foreign journalist arrives at the shore. Enthusiastic, she shakes a newspaper with an article about the boatman who helps the good die, entitled "THE GREATEST FAVOUR." Without knowing it, the foreigner, who is none other than the old woman at the beginning of the film, not only saves his life, but transforms it into a myth.
    • Partners & financing
    • CASADASARTES FILMS (Brazil)
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