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Canadian Film Fest Review: The Long Rider

March 29, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2022 Canadian Film Fest runs in two segments from March 22nd to 26th and March 29th to April 2nd, exclusively on Super Channel.

In horseback riding terms, a “long rider” is someone who has done over a thousand miles in a single equestrian trip. Director Sean Cisterna’s documentary The Long Ride follows the journey of Filipe Masetti Leite to claim this title. A Brazilian immigrant raised in Canada, Filipe decided to make the trek from Calgary to his hometown in Brazil entirely on horseback, and the perilous two-year journey is documented in Cisterna’s film.

Inspired by adventurer Aimé Tschiffely’s 1925 journey from Buenos Aires to Washington, D.C. as documented in his book Tschiffely’s Ride, which became a source of comfort to Filipe as a child, he sets out on his journey with two and then three horses, and faces a number of obstacles along the way. The obstacles range from injuries the animals sustain to crossing the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado, and having to go through suspect border crossings as he moves through Mexico and the Americas, trying to avoid suspicion of being a drug trafficker.

Assembled mostly through footage from his journey, with Filipe acting as narrator, The Long Rider serves as a decent document of his journey, and the personal and spiritual awakenings he had along the way. Elements of Filipe’s personal life remain elusive, and the final few minutes of the film suggest a lot more story that happened after his journey. But The Long Rider still functions as an engaging and at times inspiring film about setting out on the long journey home.

The Long Rider plays tonight on Super Channel at 9 PM and Midnight (ET). Tickets and more information can be found right here.

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