Argentina

Leopoldo Torre Nilsson – La chica del lunes AKA Monday’s Child (1967)


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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. Read More »

Celina Murga – Una semana solos aka A Week Alone (2007)

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A handful of children are left to their own devices in this subtle drama from Argentine filmmaker Celina Murga. Maria (Magdalena Capobianco) is a girl in her early teens whose family lives in an upscale gated suburb. Maria’s parents are going out of town for a week, and rather than leave her with relatives or hire a babysitter, Maria is put in charge of looking after her little sister Sofia (Eleonora Capobianco), with housekeeper Esther (Natalia Gomez Alarcon) serving as a nominal adult authority figure, though for the most part she lets Maria and the others do what they please. With only their parents bedroom off-limits, Maria and Sofia have the run of the house, and soon they and their friends Facundo (Lucas Del Bo), Quique (Federico Pena), Rodrigo (Ramiro Saludas) and Timmy (Mateo Braun) are spending their days exploring the place. As the kids begin creating their own rules to run counter to the ones their absent parents set down, Esther brings a young relative, Fernando (Gaston Luparo), to play with them, and the privileged kids begin to get a notion of the ways of the outside world. Una Semana Solos (aka A Week Alone) was an official selection at the 2008 Buenos Aires Film Festival. Read More »

Adrián Caetano – Crónica de una fuga aka Chronicle of an Escape (2006)

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The goalkeeper of a little-known soccer team is kidnapped by a Argentinean government squad and sent to a detention center. After months of torture, he plots his escape with three other young men.

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If American moviegoers have plenty of reasons to feel icky about government-sponsored kidnappings and hidden prisons, “Chronicle of an Escape” gives them another good one, by viewing a fact-based Argentinean story through the stylized lens of a horror film. Laced with dread that builds to a thoroughly gripping third act, it should do well with art house audiences who like their history lessons to come with a shot of adrenaline. Read More »

Lisandro Alonso – Liverpool (2008)

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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.
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Juan Taratuto – Papeles en el viento AKA Papers in the Wind (2015)

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When Alejandro “Mono” dies, his brother and two closest friends, a tight-knit group since childhood, are left to figure out how to take care of his young daughter, Guadalupe. They want to give her all the love they felt for Mono and secure her future, but there isn’t a single peso left in the bank. Mono invested all of his money in a promising soccer player whose promise hasn’t panned out, and the three hundred thousand dollars Mono spent on his transfer is soon to be lost for good. How do you sell a forward who can’t score a goal? How do you maintain relationships when repeated failures create fissures in lifelong loyalties? Fernando, Mauricio, and “Ruso” pool the few resources in their arsenal to come up with strategies in their desperate attempt to recoup Mono’s investment for Guadalupe. Papers in the Wind is a tribute to friendship and proof that love and humor can triumph over sadness. Read More »

Hugo Santiago – Invasión (1969)

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nvasion is the legend of a city, real or imagined, under attack by powerful enemies and defended by a handful of men who may not be heroes. They will carry on their struggle to the finish, unaware that the battle is endless.

“Two analogous experiences, distant from each other, now live in my memory. The oldest has been with me since 1923: I’m referring to that afternoon when I held in my hands the first copy of my first book. The other, the recent one, is the emotion I felt when I saw Invasion on the screen. A printed book is not so different from a manuscript; a film is a visible projection, detailed, heard, enriched, and magical os something dreamed, barely descried. As I am one of the authors, I cannot allow myself to priase it. I would like to leave in writing, however, that Invasion es loke no other film, and it might well be the first of a new fantastic genre” –Jorge Luis Borges, Buenos Aires, April 1969 Read More »

Pablo Fendrik – El asaltante AKA The Mugger (2007)

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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. Read More »