The independent short film ‘Zuretzako’ is a biographical account of one man’s emigration to Idaho from the Basque Country to create a better life for his family.
Filmmaker Javi Zubizarreta recalls the journeys of his own grandfather Joaquin, who came to the Boise area to herd sheep in an effort to financially support his wife and children back home.
After years of separation from his family, Joaquin is joined by Aitor, the son that he had left behind. As the two men attempt to connect again as father and son, personal histories and the hardships involved with herding in the rugged Idaho mountains bring about conflicts between father and son.
The film is the first Basque language film produced in America and is filmed entirely in Euskera, the Basque language. The cast is composed of the men who were most directly involved in the true story. Josu Zubizarreta plays a young Joaquin early in the film as well as portraying Aitor. Luis Zubizarreta portrays the adult Joaquin (who was his own father in real life.)
While the performances are uniformly very good, and director Javi Zubizarreta offers some beautiful scenery and an organic approach to story development, the film succeeds in ways that transcend the plot itself.
Zubizarreta has crafted a moving film about fathers and sons. About hopes and how they often contradict responsibilities. His film is as much about paying respect to the sacrifices our ancestors made as it is to being a quietly effective comment about being true to oneself.
‘Zuretzako’ (which translates into ‘For You’) also reminded me about why I watch movies. I watch films in the hopes that I will be transported to a place outside of my own world. I am grateful when a film like this “sneaks” up on me and compels me to consider how interpersonal relationships have challenges that defy geographical and temporal boundaries.
A movie that seems on the surface to be about Basque shepherds in Idaho allowed me to consider my own place in my family’s history. The film intrigued me to want to learn more about the Basque people who have such a deep-rooted sense of culture and community in the Boise area.
The film is currently available at www.zuretzakofilm.blogspot.com
Thank you to Henar Chico, who introduced me to this film. Henar is originally from Bilbao and is highly involved in the Basque Community in Boise.
Henar’s blog “A Basque in Boise”, which is a fun mix of both cultural information and human observations, can be found at www.blogseitb.us/basqueboise/