An unexpected invitation launches a grieving young woman on a solitary road trip through the American Midwest toward the Texas-Mexico border. Navigating the complex, post-2016 election social climate, and a natural landscape that is increasingly surreal, familiar faces and strangers shape her journey as she struggles to reconcile the losses of her past with the dreams of her future.
"The Unknown Country starts as a nighttime journey, as Tana's (Lily Gladstone) car drives through Minnesota. Without explanation, the shy young oglada woman sets in motion a perpetual movement towards the Other and Elsewhere. Deconstructing the usual workings of road trips, Morrisa Maltz does not reduce the road to a simple obstacle, literal or moral, that must be overcome. Here, it allows for the emotional mapping of a delicately banal America. Carried by the compassionate gaze of the fascinating Lily Gladstone, The Unknown Country celebrates ephemeral intimacies cherished in the interstices of everyday life. While politics is limited to the distant sounds of the car radio in the post-electoral context of 2016, Maltz advocates a policy that rests on the strength of a triumphant social bond, vastly increased by the hybrid form of a feature-length film also composed of documentary testimonies – such as the waitress who promised herself she would never be forgotten by regular or passing customers. From Minnesota to Texas, Tana travels through the history of her ancestors while reclaiming, through contact with her family, her own identity in an endless quest for life-saving human warmth."
Lily Gladstone, Raymond Lee, Richard Ray Whitman, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, Jasmine Bearkiller Shangreaux