Browsing: Argentina

Film Festival tsf_1-1

Two Shots Fired opens on an act of irrational violence: A 16-year-old boy, devoid of any expression or motivation we can register, shoots himself twice after a quick swim. The film ends, 100 minutes later, having fully convinced us that it’s no more logical than that impulsive act. Two Shots Fired operates just beyond our understanding, which befits a film about human…

Film Festival cineastas_1-1

Argentinian author and director Mariano Pensotti’s work focuses on the development of intimate drama and the way that plays with actors. He intersects theatre, literature, and visual arts in most of his work. For example, in his play The Past Is A Grotesque Animal, Pensotti had four actors enclosed on a rotating stage and through them attempted to tell the stories of…

Film Festival the_third_one_01

Rodrigo Guerrero’s The Third One (El Tercero, 2014) depicts a pivotal event in a young man’s life, one which shifts how he will forever view the concepts of love and sex. It is a coming-of-age story unlike any other, not only for its portrayal of homosexual relations, but for how it focuses specifically on the impact of sexual experience in a young…

Cannes 2014 wildtales_1-2

The title of the Argentinian-Spanish co-production (including the Almodóvar brothers) “Relatos Salvajes” that translates to Wild Tales could not be more appropriate and fitting since the feature competing for the Palme d’Or is as wild as it can get. Written and directed by Damián Szifrón, Wild Tales consists of six self-contained stories connected through the common…

Reviews The-German-Doctor

Hitler’s fiery tub thumping spittle flecked rants are one thing but it’s often the routine performance of horrific acts that shock the most. The methodical experimentation that Josef Mengele carried out at Auschwitz is truly repulsive. Unlike some of his contemporaries who escaped their crimes only to be caught later, Mengele…

Cannes 2013

Argentinian filmmaker Lucía Puenzo’s Wakolda, competing in Un Certain Regard, starts out like any other coming-of-age period drama, before taking the darkest of turns into decidedly creepy territory. It’s 1960 and Eva and Enzo are driving their family across Argentina to open a hotel they have inherited. En route they meet a handsome, charismatic veterinarian who is headed for the same town as them. The vet registers as the hotel’s first guest and quickly becomes close to the family, even investing in toymaker Enzo’s doll-manufacturing business. But he takes a particular interest in the daughter, 12-year-old Lilith, whose growth has been stunted due to her premature birth, leaving her looking little older than 8 or 9. The vet begins prescribing growth hormones for Lilith, and she starts to look upon him as a saviour who can help her overcome her body’s limitations and schoolyard bullies.

Reviews plan2

Invoking from its opening the overarching metaphor of Spirit of the Beehive, debut director Ana Piterbarg’s Everybody Has a Plan chooses an appropriate influence for its exploration of identity—both individual and communal—within the context of violence and conflict. It stars Viggo Mortensen in his fourth Spanish language role—and first set and shot in his childhood home of Argentina—as twin brothers Augustín and Pedro, respectively a well-to-do city doctor and a criminally-inclined beekeeper residing still in the village of the brothers’ youth. Their shared history, unspoken between them when Pedro arrives in Augustín’s apartment after years of estrangement, forms the backbone of Piterbarg’s investigation of the very constitution of uniqueness.


Any film about history has to deal with time. In at least two ways: as historical time, the length of years, decades, or centuries being described; and as running time, the window of two movie hours in which the chosen segment of historical time is portrayed. A film dealing with the history of an entire country, even a young one like Argentina, is even more complicated. How to summarize so much in so little time? More importantly, how to trace the complex web of ideologies, passions, prophetic visions, and mortal hatreds that shaped the national soul, and do it in a readable or watchable fashion? What to emphasize and what to ignore? A work of history always simplifies and it must concern itself with how to simplify and where.


Shot on the cheap, this lo-fi Argentine comedy mixes clichés with refreshing candor. Ostensibly, it tells the story of a middle class thirty-something who is about to move in with his fiancée and who, upon the prompting of a friend, decides to attempt small-time fraud in order to furnish his apartment with expensive electronics. The ‘masterplan’ of the ironic title is for the protagonist to go on a credit card spending spree and then declare his vintage car stolen along with his wallet. Thus, his purchases will be regarded as the work of a felon and he will get his money back. Unfortunately, his gamble fails –though he’s not caught– and the ensuing cover-up nudges him towards the outer rims of a nervous breakdown.


Many new Argentine films dream of the country. While the nation’s soap operas and television news prefer the city, some of its movies travel out to nature. Perhaps the most extraordinary exponent of this trend is Lisandro Alonso, who, along with Thai master Apichatpong Weerasethakul, is perhaps one of the strongest nature filmmakers in the world, capable of extracting existential and spiritual mystery from a few swaying trees. We might also mention Lucrecia Martel’s rural landscapes, although these, in Martel, are always juxtaposed with the interior design of bourgeoisie decadence. Equally noteworthy is Mariano Llinás’ Extraordinary Stories, with its real-time excursions down winding streams and tall grass, reminiscent of Alonso’s greatest long takes in his masterpiece, Los Muertos. Into this tradition – which includes many other films, some of which I haven’t seen yet, like Fadel’s Los Salvajes and Otheguy’s La León – walks The Vampire Spider, by Gabriel Medina.

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