Casting (Nicolas Wackerbarth)

The new edition of Buenos Aires Film Festival (BAFICI), one of the most important film festivals around the world, started a couple of days ago, and Desistfilm landed in Argentina to cover this magnificent celebration of cinema. Here are some of the reviews of the films we saw in day one and two:

The opening film, Casting, by Nicolas Wackerbarth, is a meta fiction where a casting is set in order to find the new lead characters for a TV remake of Fassbinder’s Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. The whole film occurs in one room, or one tv set, which evokes the original house of Petra von Kant as the only place where the interactions occur. In this plot, the fimmaker replaces the character of Karin Thimm for a man, which transforms the original lesbian drama into a simple love story. Along the casting, many characters inhabit for moments the spirit of Petra von Kant, and in doing so, present their own insecurities, weaknesses and pride.

Russian filmmaker Ivan Tverdovsky’s Zoology is a devastating comedy depicting the life of middle aged Natasha, a zoo employee who happens to have a tail. Dealing with the indifference of the medical system of her country, and the sudden love of an X-ray technician, Natasha seems to grow confident of her new found limb, and allows it to guide her new life as a younger, more liberated woman. But as soon as the truth is known and the limb is seen by society, Natasha becomes a pariah, a nobody. Zoology is a cruel take on a society that punishes hard on difference, that is merciless with true freedom.

Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison)

But the supernatural not always gives place to fantastic films, as it is the case for the vietnamese Kfc, a splatter, gore fest which doesn’t seem to have any direction but to disgust its audience. And of course, it would have been very welcome if this attempt was played with intelligence and dilligence (Pink Flamingos comes to mind), but Lê Bình Giang seems more preoccupied to tell his story in as many ways and directions he can. A failed attempt of something that could’ve been an entretaining moment.

Dawson City: Frozen Time is Bill Morrison’s fantastic found footage film about the gold fever, the history of cinema, baseball and other matters. Today, Morrison is the indisputable master of archive discovery and the appropiation of material to recreate fantastic stories. Owner of a magnificent soundtrack, the 120 minutes of this monumental collage of memories and data, acts like a visual poem that insists on the fraitly of a material which decomposes daily, but is still the birther of countless hours of stories. Dawson City talks about how the history of the past comes together to situate us in the present, and does it exceptionally.

Finally, Maria Álvarez The Cinephiles is an endearing love letter to cinema in form of a movie. This is a story of five old retired women, who dedicate all their free time to go to the cinema; and beyond that, a story on how cinema draws itself into reality and makes us discover secrets about ourselves. Through cinema, these women share their secrets, their memories, their inner desires. It’s a delicate and intimate testimony on the rare ocassions where life becomes art, and art becomes life.

We’ll keep you posted on days tree and four.