Ecuador, with its stunning Andean locales and picturesque coast, provides the backdrop for this wonderfully entertaining road movie about two young women and their complex journey through the countryside. Esperanza ("H...展开ope" in Spanish, played by Tania Martinez) is a Spanish tourist looking for exotic adventure who meets Tristeza (meaning "Sadness," portrayed by Cecilia Vallejo, a cynical Ecuadorian student, when a bus strike strands them in the middle of nowhere. Their journey really begins when they decide to join up to hitchhike their way to the Andean village of Cuenca. Along the way the meet a tall, scrawny man carrying the ashes of his recently deceased grandmother. In a nearly desolate landscape, the three continue together in what becomes a journey of friendship and self-discovery. Director/Screenwriter Tania Hermida constructs encounters with a lovely sense of detail, whether they involve a little girl offering directions or simply the three sitting quietly on the beach. And Ecuardor -- in all of its sun-splashed beauty and vast solitude -- becomes the fourth character in this humorous, gentle and observant tale.
The 2006 film Qué Tan Lejos, written and directed by Tania Hermida, takes place in the rural sierras and Pacific coast of southern Ecuador. A workers' strike delays a bus from Quito to Cuenca and the story unfolds as two young women decide to complete the journey on their own, hitchhiking the rest of the way. Along the way they meet interesting characters who help them reevaluate the purpose of their journey. The movie contains beautiful scenic shots and Ecuadorean humor that sometimes gets lost in translation.