Movie Review: James Gray’s tremendous The Lost City Of Z finds meaning in the unknown

Set in Europe and South America in the first decades of the 20th century, James Gray’s The Lost City Of Z is a lyrical epic of madness, mystique, and civilization in rich and almost symphonic dialogue with itself. The eponymous lost city is the ruin of a theorized culture in the Amazon rainforest—but also a symbol of the Quixotic search for redemption in a world compromised by the cruelty of the colonial rubber trade and the nightmare of trench warfare. The one who seeks it is Percival “Percy” Fawcett: a British artillery officer, an explorer, a social climber, a rationalist mystic, the son of a drunk who ruined the family fortune and name. Mapping the border of Bolivia as an agent of the Royal Geographical Society, he comes across glyphic markings and pieces of broken pottery; finding their source will become Fawcett’s dream. Through Gray’s orchestration …

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