This is the competitive section of Latin American films. The list compiles the best of this year cinematographic production in a region characterized by a common cultural heritage and identitarian multiplicity. Fictional stories that revolve around politics, hallucinatory worlds, geographical questions and the genre issue. Fourteen productions where the miraculous connection between the spectator and the big screen demand again the place they deserve at the Festival.
A Fantastic Woman, by Sebastián Lelio - Chile, United States, Germany, Spain - 2017 - 104’
A Fantastic Woman comes from a question: Don't we all have the right to say goodbye to our loved ones? From this premise, Sebastián Lelio builds a fascinating parable where a transgender woman, Marina, besides facing the mourning of her couple's death, has to deal with archaic social constructs. Daniel Vega impressively incarnates this empowered woman who fights for the most fundamental rights. With Lelio's ability to shape characters that function as a mise en abyme of universal issues, A Fantastic Woman puts up a fight in the Latin American Competition.
Baronesa, by Juliana Antunes - Brazil - 2017 - 71´
The cinematographic imagery is a capture of the world where reality and fiction converge. Juliana Antunes debut film smartly and sensitively positions itself in that exploration. Andreia and Leidiane reside in a favela in Belo Horizonte. Through a camera that is alien to stereotypes and condescendence, Baronesa manages to approach social inequality from a universe signed by feminine presence through a shocking, intimate, personal view.
Chaco, Danièle Incalcaterra, Fausta Quattrini - Argentina, Italy, Switzerland - 2017 - 106´
Chaco, by Incalcaterra and Quattrini, attempts at approaching perhaps the deepest and recurrent political and social conflicts in Latin America: the land distribution and the power of the landowners. The result is an astonishing documentary with the power of a political thriller that manages to overcome the challenge of pointing at the elephant in the room, which, paradoxically, no one can see.
Cocote, by Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias - Dominican Republic, Argentina, Germany, Qatar - 2017- 106’
After Santa Teresa & others stories, Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias comes back to the Festival with Cocote, his first fictional film. As he says, however, “everything is fiction”. This time, he closely follows a character that breaks a routinary Dominican Republic with a hunger for understanding the vicissitudes of its reality. Incarnated in Alberto, the protagonist comes back to his town for his father's burial. The disruptive narrative focuses on the inquiry of the word of the people, who lives the pressing situation of social injustice day after day. “Enough with the silence; people want to speak”.
Eugenia, by Martín Boulocq - Bolivia, Brazil - 2017 - 82´
Through a particular sensitivity and a registry where the line that divides fiction and documentary is blurred, Eugenia portraits a young woman who decides to change her life and rebel to every mandate. Under a necessary feminist perspective, Bolivian filmmaker Martín Boulocq reflects about the role of women in Bolivia and its relationship with independent films.
King, by Niles Atallah - Chile, France, Holland, Germany, Qatar - 2017 - 90´
As an hypnotic dream of impossible colors and shapes, King is an hallucinating journey to the sick mind of Orllie-Antonie de Tounens, the self-proclaimed king of the Araucanía Region. Through an episodic structure, the director Niles Atallah leaves the official biography aside and makes an audiovisual work that seems to come from the hands of an artisan of sound and celluloid.
Mariana, by Chris Gude - Colombia - 2017 - 64´.
In the midst of a deserted land, a mysterious man wanders between criminal acts and conversations with locals who move in the -symbolic and real- frontier between Colombia and Venezuela. Chris Gude's film explores the politics and the geography of the Guajira Peninsula through characters that move along sinuous routes as adrift boats.
Once There Was Brasília, by Adirley Queirós - Brazil - 2017 - 87´
WA4 is a precarious intergalactic agent: his mission is to assassinate President Kubistchek in 1960, but his spaceship gets lost in space and lands in Ceilandia in 2016. Winner of the Latin American Competition Award in the 29th edition of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival for Branco Sai, Preto Fica (2014), Adirley Queirós surprises with Once There Was Brasília, an original politic parable and a dystopic fiction that explores the dark present era of a control society.
Stormmaker, by Rubén Imaz - Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic – 2017 - 80´
Inspired in the character of Prospero, the magician in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Kantún is a shrimp fisher that, by chance, discovers the biggest oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico; he’s an anonymous man in the search for the transfiguration of his own life. Stormmaker, Rubén Imaz’ fourth film, excels at constructing an hypnotizing world of suggestion, mystery and drama through a subtle narrative elaboration.
The Family, by Gustavo Rondón Córdova – Venezuela, Chile, Norway- 2017 - 82’
Violence takes everything by storm in imperceptible ways. In addition to what is evident, affective bonds get trapped in the vortex of radical changes. Gustavo Rondón Córdova chooses that narrative focus to delve into those vicissitudes of social injustice that involve us all. Father and son, the protagonists of The family must escape the neighborhood where they are living after an incident in the streets. Dehumanization and the naturalization of terror are foreseen in every scene in a hellish Caracas that appears in the background as yet another character in a film that needs no clichés to highlight urgency.
The Theatre of Disappearance, by Adrián Villar Rojas - Argentina, South Korea - 2017 - 120’
Visual artists Adrián Villar Rojas presents a hallucinatory trilogy that was born in the installation he made at the MET's Roof Garden in New York, a deep reflection of the man as creator and destroyer of his own environment. The namesake production arouses the senses through different registries and narrative elements, playing, at the same time, with them, to build a hypnotic and gorgeous piece that gets completed with each spectator's interpretation. Art in its purest form!
The Wandering Soap Opera, by Raúl Ruiz, Valeria Sarmiento – Chile – 2017 – 80´
The figure of Raúl Ruíz does not need much introduction. Twenty seven years after being shot, actress Chamila Rodríguez and film editor Galt Alarcón –tutored by director Valeria Sarmiento, Ruíz’ widow– rescue The Wandering Soap Opera, a hilarious sarcastic look about the emergent post-Pinochet Chilean society and yet another proof of how original, lucid and irreverent the greatest Chilean director can be.
The Waves, by Adrián Biniez - Uruguay, Argentina - 2017 – 88’
Fun, refreshing and nostalgic. The Waves, Adrián Biniez’ third fictional feature film, presents a different type of narrative when it comes to dealing with the life of a character that has the gift of going back in time to his last holiday trip. The point of inflection are the waves, and the shore, all the important moments of his life. Narrated from the point of view of this time traveler, interpreted by Alfonso Tort (25 Watts), the spectator will have the opportunity of remembering the past from an hallucinatory sensitive defamiliarization. The Waves arrives in Mar del Plata to remind us we are the result of all the holidays trips of our lives.
Out of Competition
Tie Your Plow to a Star, de Carmen Guarini - Argentina - 2017 - 80´
What a stupid passion is cinema! But, do you think any passion is smart?, you hear Fernando Birri ask in the archival material who sensitively transformed into director Carmen Guarini's feature film. A crucial movie when it comes to reflection about cinema as a way of understanding the world. By fusing archival material from the backstage of the shooting of Che: ¿muerte de la utopía? and a recently carried out interview, Guarini manages to delineate through decided brush-strokes the ideology of a man and his struggle to create a cinema that identifies us as a region.