THE 37th EDITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL MAR DEL PLATA FILM FESTIVAL HAS BEGUN
One of the novelties of this 37th edition of the festival is the Coming soon section: a series of public talks in which three guests connected to cinema through different disciplines, from directing and writing to acting or criticism, recommend three films that can be seen in the theaters of Mar del Plata in the next days.
The first meeting, which took place in the foyer of the Auditorium theater, included the participation of the filmmaker, screenwriter and producer Clarisa Navas, the critic, journalist and radio host Vicky Duclos-Sibuet, and the critic, programmer and teacher Ezequiel Boetti. The conversation was moderated by Juan Pablo Cinelli. In addition, the complete talk will be added to the content of Turn up the Volume, the Festival's brand new podcast, whose first three episodes are already available on the Spotify channel.
Navas started things off by recommending Luminum, a new work by the director Maximiliano Schonfeld included in the Argentine Competition, which she defines as "a kind of fiction with elements of reality in the lives of two women obsessed with UFOs." She considered that the film deals with this story "from a place that moves away from solemnity and houses humor with a philosophical intersection."
Boetti chose Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro. "One might wonder what is the point of making another movie about that classic character," reflected the critic before recalling, by way of response, that the Mexican's filmography has "a history of suffering monsters, in which Pinocchio fits in very well." The film is part of the Children by the Sea section.
Duclos-Sibuet, in turn, expressed her desire to once again see Die Hard, by John McTiernan. "Many people have seen this movie dozens of times, but only on the small screen," she said. Having the opportunity not only to see it in a movie theater, but also afterward to attend the Conversations with Masters that its director will give at the Festival, makes this "an opportunity different from all the previous ones."
Navas immediately added Melisa Liebenthal's El rostro de la medusa to her list of recommendations, which is part of the International Competition, considering that "she runs from a certain standard, takes risks, and thus is allowed to experiment with animation and archival film, in addition to proposing something very interesting around the vision of the human face; a very interesting inquiry about identity”.
When talking about another of her selected films, Duclos-Sibuet began by highlighting the Midnight Scream section, which she defined "as a separate festival, with a special and festive spirit"; its programming includes Los espíritus de la isla, a new film by Martin McDonagh, director of Tres anuncios para un crimen. "I really want to see it because it promises a strange and uncomfortable tone, which the midnight framework will surely give another color," she said.
The second round of recommendations concluded with the contribution of Boetti, who highlighted Alcarrás – Carla Simón's second film, which is part of the New Authors section – for the extraordinary pulse that the Catalan director has shown for always narrating family dramas in a luminous manner.
The recommendations were completed with Huesera, by the Mexican Michelle Garza Cervera (by Duclos-Sibuet); Un beau matin, by Mia Hansen-Løve (Boetti); and Mato seco em chamas, by Adirley Queirós and Joana Pimenta (Navas). The second session of the Coming soon series will take place on Tuesday the 8th at 3 pm, also in the Auditorium hall.
The Framing Favio program was held at the Club Español, a dialogue moderated by the filmmaker Bebe Kamin, with the participation of the researcher and teacher Yamila Volnovich, author of the book Leonardo Favio, ¿es posible un cine revolucionario?; the programmer José Ludovico, coordinator of the book La memoria de los ojos, about the filmmaker's work; and the journalist and critic Pablo O. Scholz. The conversation consisted of an analysis of Favio's work, with a review of the most significant moments of his career.
Kamin opened the meeting by stating that Favio "was not a person who could be closed to a single activity, but who approached many, and all of them passionately." Scholz followed these comments by tracing a journey through the filmmaker's filmography, from his career as an actor in films by Leopoldo Torre Nilsson to his final film as a director, Aniceto, passing through classics such as El dependiente and Nazareno Cruz y el lobo. Ludovico, for his part, recounted intimate anecdotes of his relationship with the filmmaker; in particular, the discovery of a copy of the short film El amigo, which Favio himself considered lost. After a screening of the short film in question, Volnovich analyzed aspects of his filmography, focusing on recurring elements such as childhood and the working class, to then trace a genealogy of the presence of animals in all of the director's films. The researcher concluded her speech by highlighting that “the political power of Favio's cinema has to do, above all, with a way of questioning and putting in crisis all the categories with which we can think about cinema and our political and social realities.”
After the second screening of Argentina, 1985, by Santiago Mitre –which uses fiction to reconstruct the work carried out by prosecutor Julio César Strassera during the trial of the Military Juntas, which ended with the conviction of many of its members–, the tribute that the Festival dedicated to the popular actor Ricardo Darín, who plays the main character.
After receiving the Astor Award from Cecilia Diez (general producer of the Festival), Fernando E. Juan Lima (Festival president) and Pablo Conde (artistic director of the Festival), the actor gives his thanks for the recognition: "Actually, it is for not doing anything, but it's a beautiful moment. I did not expect this, but I like it very much,” he said before the complicit laughter of the spectators. And he referred to Argentina, 1985: “I hope that the film has mobilized and helped people to reflect, to travel back and see some important things for Argentines, because we so often get used to underestimating and not supporting each other. I think that our film, prudently, proposes to remind us of a very important moment in Argentina. By accompanying the film in different countries, in each place they made us understand that, despite telling a completely local story, it has an enormous scope, and that is why people from all over the world make it their own”.
The first of the five Conversations with Masters of this 37th edition was held at the Club Español. Marcos Uzal, current editor-in-chief of the magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, was in charge of opening one of the most outstanding special activities of the Festival.
In a talk with Marcelo Alderete, Festival programmer, Marcos Uzal, who worked as a critic for publications such as Trafic, Vertigo y Cinéma, traced a journey through the past and present of the magazine he directs: “Cahiers… has survived and remains alive for his willingness not to want to maintain a tradition for the simple fact of maintaining it and also for evolving along with cinema. It is a faithful magazine, attentive to the present, young and has always defended the same idea of cinema.”
In addition, Uzal referred to the relationship between Jean-Luc Godard and Cahiers du Cinéma as a “very strong bond, as it did not happen with any other director. He knew that it was his house and that he could express himself there,” and emphasized the special edition that the publication dedicated to the figure of the Swiss-French director after his death. “When we heard the news, we were preparing other articles. We finally wrote over 100 pages in nine days. The number dedicated to him was spontaneous and made from the shock that his death meant. We knew it was going to be a historic and heartfelt number,” he maintained.
When asked about the new forms of criticism, Uzal remarked his surprise at the appearance of new generations who want to dedicate themselves to writing and assured that “criticism courses are a new phenomenon. In my generation, it was something amateurish and an extension of cinephilia. I am still a movie buff and spectator who seeks to convey something with the texts”.
Screenings on Sunday, the 6th
The International Competition continues with Lobo e cao, the first fiction feature film by the Portuguese Claudia Varejâo, which narrates the life of a teenager on the small island of São Miguel where, together with representatives of the local queer community – silenced for a long time – , ventures to expand the limits marked by local tradition. In addition, the Canadian So Much Tenderness, directed by the Colombian Lina Rodriguez, presents an environmental lawyer who must rebuild her life after her husband is murdered.
The Latin American Competition continues today with Mato seco em chamas, by Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós, a story between testimonial and fiction, in which a group of women clandestinely extract and sell oil in the Sol Nascente favela.
The premiere of the Argentine Competition is Te prometo una larga amistad, by Jimena Repetto, a film that explores the relationship between Victoria Ocampo and Benjamin Fondane through interviews, archival research and fictional representations with a strong humorous element.
The Altered States Competition presents two titles today. On the one hand, Fogo-Fátuo, the new film by João Pedro Rodrigues, a curious story in a musical key in which, based on the memories of the King of Portugal's youth, as he is on his deathbed, the director of Ophantasma reflects on classism, ecology and sexuality itself. On the other hand, A Woman Escapes, directed by Burak Cevik, Blake Williams and Sofia Bohdanowicz, a story that builds an audiovisual correspondence made up of different formats and endless textures.
The Argentine filmmaker Sergio Levin is the animator of the Super 8/16mm section, with a program dedicated to his work, which includes the shorts Socorro (1969), Mi querida Buenos Aires (1974), Desde el comienzo (1975), Escalera al cielo (1975), Cigota (1975) and El jardín de los presentes (1977).
With the purpose of honoring the origins of cinema and giving rise to reviving it, the section How long is a century? proposes an event of four screenings of national and international feature films and short films, each different from the other, which celebrate the centenary of the making of mythical films, accompanied by live music. On this occasion, the group Die Krabben will musicalize the very strange Häxan, by Benjamin Christensen, which reviews the history of witchcraft.
The not to be missed of Midnight Screaming has as its guests Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, directors of the highly anticipated Something in the Dirt, in which two neighbors try to document strange events that occur in Los Angeles, while their friendship begins to fall apart.
Check out the rest of the screenings in the Program Guide.
The figure of the North American director John McTiernan stands out throughout this day: first, in the cycle of Conversations with Masters in which he participates as an exclusive protagonist and cover his career together with the public (at 5:30 p.m. in the Club Español); and then with the celebration on the big screen projection of Die Hard in the Auditorium at 10 pm.
Co-produced with the Encuentro de Cine Europeo en Argentina y and supported by the German Embassy, the table Opportunities and challenges in documentary filmmaking today will address different ways of writing, producing and facing the making of documentary films in Argentina and its distribution to the world. It will include the presence of the German director Heinz Emilgholz and María Álvarez, Sol Miraglia and Hernán Rosselli. Moderated by Diego Lerer. At 2:00 pm in Club Español.
At 4:30 pm in the Nachman Room, we will have a presentation of the book The Kingdom of Fear: Stephen King in the cinema, in which 15 specialists on the subject go through the most outstanding films about the writer's work. With Mariano Castaño, Carla Leonardi, Enrique Fernández, Ricardo Ruiz and Mariano Morita. Moderated by Mariano González Achi.
There will also be a presentation of the book Cines regionales en cruce. Un panorama del cine argentino desde un abordaje descentralizado, which analyzes the internal dynamics of the large and small regional audiovisual poles of our country. With Nicolás Batlle (head of INCAA), Antoine Sebire (regional audiovisual attaché, Institut Francais d'Argentine), Andrea Cuarterolo, Silvana Flores and Gabriel Rojze. Moderated by Ana Laura Lusnich. At 7:30 pm in the Club Español.
Check out the rest of the activities in the Program Guide.
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