a “missing piece” in the puzzle of 60’s cinema,
Author: l-c-a-161-582869 from Canada
a day after i saw invasion (at tiff) i had already come to take it for granted as a part of the essential canon of 60’s film. though the affinities with some new wave and related trends of the period (godard, antonioni, resnais) have been noted- and i would certainly add bunuel to that list- hugo santiago’s film adds something decisively different to the mix, something you maybe always unconsciously felt belonged there but wasn’t really represented by any particular film or “auteur”. unfortunately the original negatives were seized (and presumably destroyed) by the military in the early 70’s, and the restored print is variable in quality with shoddy french subtitles over which the English titles are projected in real time. this resulted in many mistakes which threatened to render the story even more mysterious than it was intended to be! someone badly needs to do a new restoration on this one! regardless, invasion is, especially when taken in context (1969!) a remarkable achievement in every way. superb, velvety black-and-white cinematography, fabulous location shooting, brilliant performances, and all that, combined with a meaningful, prescient story of the “inevitable, irresistible invasion” which was shortly to overtake argentina and subsequently all of us… the brutally inhuman men in suits…! the protagonist herrera (lautaro murua) is the quintessential borgesian knife-fighter reconfigured as a gun-toting ruthless thug defending civilization-as-we-know it from the “invaders”… the counter-revolution, as is made clear in the film, remains well below the the radar of the everyday football-obsessed citizen… superb, and more timely than ever!!! Continue reading Hugo Santiago – Invasión (1969)
Vargas, a 54 year old man, gets out of jail in the prvince of Corrientes, Argentina. Once released, he wants to find his now adult daughter, who lives in a swampy and remote area. To get there, he must cross great distances in a small boat on the rivers, scoring deep into the jungle. Vargas is a quiet and self-contained man. He possesses the restraint of those living close to nature. A deep mystery surrounds him, the people he encounters and the places he goes through, all that taking in the unalterable world he finds almost unchanged after his long years of incarceration. (~IMDb) Continue reading Lisandro Alonso – Los muertos [+Extras] (2004)
A boat worker, Farrel (Juan Fernandez), spends his shore leave traveling from the port city to a rural community in the mountains build around an old saw mill. Ostensibly traveling to see his mother, Farrel takes his time and drinks enough alcohol along the way to suggest a significant confrontation is brewing. But the result couldn’t be further from the suggestion. Alonso’s single-shot observational style records only dry action—Farrel getting dressed for a night shift, packing his bags, waiting for a ride to the mountains, or pulling yet another swig from his seemingly bottomless bottle of vodka. The result is that the confrontation between Farrel, his mother, and the daughter he left in the logging camp has the same anti-dramatic weight as a shot of Farrel zipping up his handbag or eating a meal.
Continue reading Lisandro Alonso – Liverpool (2008)
Clocking in at only 70 minutes, Argentine director Pablo Fendrik’s unsparingly tense drama El Asaltante (AKA The Assailant, 2007) observes – in real-time – the various conflicting emotions undergone by a perpetrator before he commits a serious and potentially lethal act of aggression. After premeditating the event in his mind for ages, the titular assailant opts to move forward, step by step, and experiences a co-mingling of fear, apprehension, rage, and an overriding loss of hope that will ultimately drive him to commit the most desperate act of his life. Continue reading Pablo Fendrik – El asaltante AKA The Mugger (2007)
The “elefante blanco” (white elephant) in Pablo Trapero’s eponymous film is the phantasmagorical structure of what was to be Latin America’s biggest hospital, construction of which was approved in 1937 and started in 1938. In line with Argentina’s sociopolitical upheaval, the project was never completed and is now home to thousands of outcasts who live among rubble, rats, pollution, illness, crime, deadly drug lords’ feuds.
Trapero’s Elefante blanco, focusing on the painstaking work of two shanty-town priests and a social worker, is a trip through urban hell. Contrary to the barrage of political harangue we are subjected to on a daily basis, Elefante blanco lays out the bare facts: a Third World country playing welfare state but in reality struggling to stay afloat. No other aborted social project could make such a visible, powerful impact as the elefante blanco, palpable proof that not everyone is given the same possibilities to attain social mobility and think ahead to a better future. Continue reading Pablo Trapero – Elefante blanco (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes wrote:
This Argentinean tale, which revolves around a group of families passing summer vacation in a rural country house, does not rely on a concrete plotline, but rather roves, rambles, and stumbles upon each new event. The most notable characteristic of La Ciénaga is its mood — a brooding, dreadful, fearsome tension that does not wain or cease even in the very last moment of the film. No event, no action, no exchange of words, no scene of the movie is more or less important than another. Instead, the film continues nonsequentially in what feels like a prolonged wait. Continue reading Lucrecia Martel – La Ciénaga AKA The Swamp (2001)
In December 1965, Telsun had announced that production of the fifth movie had been postponed once again (the original postponement having been part of the February 1965 announcement). The film, to be produced by Sam Spiegel, was to highlight UN peacekeeping efforts along the India-Pakistan border, and some filming had already been completed. However, an armed conflict had erupted between the two nations over the disputed Kashmir territory (including one of the largest tank battles fought since World War II), and a Telsun spokesman announced that production would not resume while the conflict continued. Spiegel had by this time moved on to another project (the 1966 movie The Chase, starring Marlon Brando and the little-known Robert Redford, whom Spiegel had personally chosen for the movie), and as it turned out the project apparently was never restarted. Continue reading Leopoldo Torre Nilsson – La chica del lunes AKA Monday’s Child (1967)