What is it that people seek when they travel abroad? LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE is a striking observational documentary that explores the pleasures, strains, and choreography of group tourism in Peru. Shot in magnificent tableaux, the film tracks the tension between the universal desire for new experiences and the commodification of Andean culture for foreign consumption.

“Distinctive and beautiful”

-Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire
Synopsis: 

What is it that people seek when they travel abroad? LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE is a striking observational documentary that explores the pleasures, strains, and choreography of group tourism in Peru. Shot in magnificent tableaux, the film tracks the tension between the universal desire for new experiences and the commodification of Andean culture for foreign consumption.

LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE follows an international tour group as participants enjoy the beauties of historic Cuzco, the mysteries of a rain forest, and the splendor of Machu Picchu. However, cross-cultural interactions with Peruvians are primarily short, staged, or commodified, with few meaningful connections. The film explores the sensory dimensions of tourists' itineraries, which range from exhilaration to fatigue and dislocation, with bodies moving in sync along predetermined paths. Ultimately LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE challenges viewers to become self-reflective about their own touristic practices- how might tourists see, appreciate, and engage with a new culture and its people in meaningful ways?

Reviews

“Tension arises in the film’s still tableaux, in which vast landscapes are dotted by migratory patters of curious, bored and intrepid wanderers. A sense of gentle circumspection, rather than cynicism attends Takesue’s radically observational mode of filmmaking, a protracted gaze in which time and place assume precedence.”

-Jay Kuehner, Northwest Film Forum

“In the splendid landscapes of the Peruvian Andes, the traditional way of life of the indigenous populations becomes object of consumption against the wave of foreign tourists. In long static shots of genuine formal beauty….[and] under her lucid camera, cultural elements, from llamas to souvenirs, from dances to meals, from ruins to performance are intended for the entertainment of visitors and formatted, packaged and coined accordingly. The immensity of the Andean scenery remains spectacular and immeasurable under the eye of the filmmaker.”

-Film-Documentaire. Fr

“Looking for Adventure critiques industrialization—specifically, the tourist industry… Whenever local people in the film stop to stare at her camera, let alone speak into it, Takesue appears at least as foreign to them as they might be to her. The foreigners, both onscreen and offscreen, form a collaboration that makes the film.”  

-Aaron Cutler, Reverse Shot
Director's Commentary: 

I traveled with my mother to Peru for the first time as members of a two-week tour that billed itself to international travelers as “stepping off the beaten path.”  While on the tour, I was struck by the limitations on our experiences.  Our interactions with local Peruvians mostly revolved around the buying and selling of tourist goods and were short, staged, or commodified. I was also struck by the physical choreography of tourism and how bodies move through unfamiliar landscapes on a predetermined path. I was interested in the contradictory expectations that we shared as tourists: we sought “authentic” new experiences, yet we also expected comfort and familiarity.

The desire for new adventure is shared universally, yet economics dictate who can travel globally.  People who enjoy the luxury of traveling far from home sometimes create fantasies of engagement and enlightenment that go unrealized.  The tourist who stays on the easy, prescribed path of the group often longs for something deeper that goes unfulfilled.  LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE explores how travelers’ responses to new situations and places range from exhilaration to fatigue and dislocation. 

In producing LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE I did not want to make a mean-spirited film that took easy jabs at the “ugly tourist.”  It’s easy to distance oneself and feel morally superior to the vulgar “selfie” traveler; however, I am one of the tourists in the group featured in the film and I recognize myself within these problematic relationships and dynamics.  I hope viewers of this film who have been—or plan to be—tourists will see themselves in LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE and reflect on the complexities of the tourist experience.