With the main room of the Club Español rpacked, the long-awaited Conversations with Masters took place, starring American filmmaker John McTiernan, director of Die Hard and Predator, both being screened at this edition of the Festival as part of the celebration for his career.

With the director of the Festival, Pablo Conde, as an interlocutor, McTiernan recounted his approach to cinema: “When I was studying at film school I realized that I knew films from twenty years ago. This was because, when I was between 2 and 5 years old, I used to go with my mother to see movies from the 50s. It is often said that to become skilled at something you need thousands of hours of preparation and prior concentration before you can achieve it: those thousands of hours of images I had brought with me from then”.

Then he referred to François Truffaut, one of his first references: “When I was studying in New York, despite the fact that I read many books, nobody could explain to me what a film was. In order to make one, I had to know what it was. A step towards that happened when I went to see Truffaut's Day for Night. That was the beginning of understanding that a film was much more than the plot or certain technical aspects; there I managed to understand its essence”.

On the other hand, he confessed one of his student skills, “One of the things I learned was to memorize entire movies. I started with Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, which has 620 shots: I memorized what the camera was doing in each of them, and I did the same with Fellini's 1,170 shots for . That methodology made it possible for me to impress many directors later, because I find it very easy to memorize entire sequences of films.”

About the end, McTiernan asked to speak especially about superhero movies. In this regard, he said that the graphic representations that people have made of their own times throughout history have always represented kings and powerful people. Only in the middle of the eighteenth century in France did artists begin to represent people of their own class. “Just a few decades later, those same guys were taking over the Bastille and guillotining King Louis XVI. The tools of representation no longer belonged only to the rich,” he noted.

The director then recalled that “until the mid-90s, the big studios were run by people who knew about cinema or by intelligent people who cared about spreading a culture in the world”, but that “unfortunately at that time they were bought by banks and corporations. "People who were not interested in the cinema, but were mere supervisors who worked to protect the interests of the richest and guarantee the greatest amount of profit for their investors", he completed and continued: "The films of the following ten years left to stopped showing normal people, but they could not represent kings and nobles either.” And he concluded: “What did the great cinematographic machinery of the United States begin to do then? It started talking about wizards or superheroes. And that is a very clear political action, a counterrevolution of great historical importance and as such we must not lose sight of it.”


The first part of Opportunities and Challenges of Making Documentary Film Today was also held at the Club Español, an activity co-produced with the European Film Meeting in Argentina. The filmmakers María Álvarez, Sol Miraglia and Hernán Rosselli participated in the dialogue, and the critic Diego Lerer moderated it. The focus was on a film by each filmmaker: Las cinéphilas, Foto Estudio Luisita and Casa del Teatro respectively. During the conversation, different significant issues for contemporary documentary filmmaking were discussed, from problems related to technological changes in recent decades to the particularities of the exhibition and distribution of documentary film in Argentina.

María Álvarez spoke about the closeness she maintained with the characters in her three feature films, considering that "one of the basic elements when making documentary films is wanting to remain in the world you want to document." In this line, differences were drawn between the films of Álvarez, Miraglia and Rosselli, which imply an intimacy with the people portrayed, and other types of documentary cinema, such as denunciation. Miraglia, for her part, spoke about the care that must be taken when dealing with the fragility inherent in each individual, reflecting that "you can never imagine in advance what is going to bother or what can touch" the person filmed, and illustrated the idea by telling anecdotes from the shooting of Foto Estudio Luisita. At the end of the talk, problems related to exhibition were discussed, highlighting different alternatives to commercial rooms. In relation to this, Rosselli pointed out the importance of critics and programmers when it comes to disseminating documentary films, stating that “there is something about thinking about cinema and discussing it that is part of the exhibition window. It is an activity that we do together.”

Screenings, Monday the 7th

The latest entry in the International Competition today is Los de abajo, the new film by Bolivian Alejandro Quiroga which, crossing social drama with western aesthetics, takes on sensitive issues such as migration and inequality, based on the conflict over water that arises between the inhabitants who occupy the upper part of a mountain village and their neighbors in the lower part.

Today, the Argentine Competition will also present one more of its participating films: the latest by Argentinian Matías Szulasnki, Juana Banana, a sensitive comedy that tells the story of a young aspiring actress, whose dreams and projects take place in the recognizable landscapes of the Villa Crespo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

The Altered States Competition presents The Plains, the new work by Australian David Esteal, a film that follows Andrew, the main character, on the car trips he makes to his house every day after work. A game that, from the back seat of the car, invites us to witness the construction of a form of intimacy through half-heard phone conversations or simply flowing with traffic without doing anything more than listening to the radio.

The Latin American Competition continues with the Colombian Anhell69, by the Medellin-born filmmaker Theo Montoya. Traveling through the spaces of a city where the future does not seem to exist, the film is based on a generational portrait in which friendship is traversed by the night, sex and drugs. The other film presented today in the section is Tengo sueños eléctricos, directed by Costa Rican Valentina Maurel, an uncommon coming-of-age story in which a teenager must learn to reconcile the situations of contained violence that stem from the divorce that her family is going through with the loving relationship that she is building with her father.

As part of the Auteurs section, the Festival presents the first screenings of Pacifiction, by Albert Serra, and Vera, by the duo of Tizza Covi and Rainner Frimmel. The Catalan film proposes a strange political thriller in which, following a French diplomat stationed in Tahiti, it manages to indirectly reflect upon bourgeois life and French colonialism. For its part, the new work by the directors of La pivellina work with the figure of Vera Gemma, the eccentric and defiant daughter of the mythical Giuliano Gemma, to outline a critical view of the way in which patriarchal society imposes brutal standards of beauty on women. Meanwhile, within the New Authors section, the Festival presents Unrest, by Cyril Schäublin, and Queens of the Qing Dynasty, by Ashley McKenzie.

At night, in the Auditorium, festival goers will be able to enjoy the presentation of Videodrome, the classic by Canadian David Cronenberg that is part of the Rescues section. The retro party will continue during the classic midnight screenings at the Ambassador, where it will be our turn to see a unique and unmissable screening of Predator, as part of the celebration of the career of American director John McTiernan. In addition, Mamani in El Alto will be presented, the last of the titles that is part of the spotlight dedicated to the German Heinz Emigholz. Finally, at the Colón theater the Festival is screening El stati de Santiago del Estero and Las Naciones de América, the two rescued and restored short films by Argentine documentary filmmaker Renée Oro, which are part of the silent film focus with live music. Guest artist: Tremor.

Check out the rest of the screenings in the Program Guide.



Geographies of the current cinema

It is common for cinematographic currents to have their basis in the geographical, due to cultural, economic and social factors. But what leads the production of certain countries or regions to stand out? What are these foci today? These and other questions will be developed in Geographies of current cinema, a round table with the participation of Marcos Uzal (director of the legendary Cahiers du Cinéma magazine) and Alberto Lechuga (director of the Spanish edition of Sofilm magazine). Moderated by Pablo Conde. At 15:30 in the Club Español.

At 17:30, also in the Club Español, one of the books published by the Festival will be presented: Por las naciones de América: El cine documental silente de Renée Oro (Estudio histórico y técnico), which covers the work of the Argentine director and producer. It will be approached from the perspective of historical research and the analysis of film materials, highlighting the key role of the rescue, conservation and interdisciplinary study of our film heritage. With Lucio Mafud, Georgina Tosi, Mariana Avramo, Daniela Cuatrin, Jazmín Adrover, July Massaccesi and Adrián Muoyo. Moderated by Pablo Conde.

Check out the rest of the activities in the Program Guide.

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