40 Years of Complete Isolation

Jun 5, 2023 | Social, Videos

For years, Faustino Barrientos has been living an isolated but content life on the shores of O’Higgins lake in Patagonia. His home is a house built from the remains of a long-ago wrecked fishing vessel. With few modern amenities and his nearest neighbors being 25 miles away in Villa O’Higgins, Faustino lives a quiet life off the land and his livestock as a pastoralist.

Now 81 years old, Faustino’s lifestyle is threatened by encroaching forces of government, economy, and tourism; however, VICE recently ventured to document his lifestyle and speak with him about its changing face. Watching this documentary allows viewers to dive deep into the day-to-day life of this curious gaucho–from the two-day horseback ride through rugged mountain animal paths to sell cattle in town every few years, to his struggles against the power of globalization in rural Patagonia.

This film serves as an important cultural record for those interested in learning more about Faustino’s unique way of life. It provides an insightful look into both the past and present of Patagonia and its people: who they are, how they live, their customs and values, and how they face changing times with resilience. Through this documentary viewers can witness firsthand what Faustino calls “the wildness that still exists” — gaining insight into his age-old culture while understanding its preservation through modern eyes.

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David B