Author And Stylistic Antipodes

Just as film festivals have remained the most relevant events for discovering new film schools, genres, trends and new authors, so has the Ibero-American cinema boom, especially in Central and South America, taken place in cycles and waves, but not as new movements, since they have no program, nor doctrine, nor manifest

Argentina was the first to step onto the scene as a place of something fresh and new, with intriguing authors like Lucrecia Martel, Diego Lerman and Lisandro Alonso. Next, Brazilian film took off by trying out the authored formula 'New Cinema Novo'. Nevertheless, most of its players, not counting Cesar Oiticica Filho, soon joined mainstream film to satisfy Hollywood's appetite for the exotic Third World. However, after a slow start, it was Mexicans who won the race and its authors, such as Michel Franco and Carlos Reygadas and his 'student' Amato Escalante, as well as the 'invisible' directors such as Yulene Olaizola, were welcomed with extreme euphoria. And just as we thought that the game was over and that all the players had arrived at the finish line, Chilean film appeared almost out of nowhere as the next big thing, bringing along authors such as Sebastian Lelia, Pablo Larrain, Marcela Said and Sebastian Silva.

All these waves and author booms, their (r)evolutions and generational and stylistic antipodes, are evident in our retrospective of Ibero-American film. Therefore the selection of films is quite diverse and eclectic. Thus, Argentina is represented by two diametrically opposite authors; Armando Bo (The Last Elvis) is a softer variation of Larrain's Tony Manero, except that Larrain's imitator of the legendary Saturday Night Fever hero, dressed in a white suit and a black shirt with a collar like the wings of an albatross immersed in oil, is replaced by an Elvis impersonator wearing glitter, playing at obscure bars and nursing homes (similar to the motif of its Amerindie counterpart Bubba-Ho-Tep, directed by Don Coscarelli). Experimental filmmaker Mauro Andrizzi (Accidentes Gloriosos) together with the Swedish filmmaker and playwright Marcus Lindeen created a stylish kaleidoscope of death and transformation, with a photographer who turns car accidents into instant art, a patient who gets a transplantation of a woman's heart, and a woman who receives a letter from her husband, a polar researcher. All these stories more or less end up in that same black hole on a toilet wall covered in erotic graffiti, better known to consumers of homoerotic pleasures as the 'glory hole', sought by one of the protagonists looking for quick oral sex.

Similar stylistic antipodes can be found in the Chilean segment of the retrospective, in A Cab for Three by Orlando Lubbert. Although his film begins as a kind of a looser Chilean variant of Mann's Collateral, with the taxi driver who drives two robbers to 'work', its seemingly casual texture hides much more serious topics that probe the current state of contemporary Chile. Its stylistic antipode is the melancholy and emotional The Life of Fish by Matias Bize, in which a birthday party becomes a place of the hero's encounter with an old love, while its rooms and hallways host a repetitive series of farewells delaying his decision to break off with the past once and forever and return to Berlin.

Unlike the Argentine and Chilean team, the Brazilian one plays it safe with Posthumous Memoirs by Andre Klotzel, film adaptation of the Brazilian classic novel by Machado de Assis, which evokes the ghosts of Lubitsch’s classic Heaven Can Wait as well as with the Brazilian rom-com postcard Once again love directed by Rosana Svartman. That is why the Spanish segment of the retrospective is a much more radical and daring selection, with the debut work by Carlos Reygadas (Japon, Mexican director, but the film was made in Spanish production), in which we see all the obsessions that will become the ultimate raison'd'etre of his entre work - observing nature, lifeless and mechanical sex, blood, religious iconography, inhumane treatment of animals, and smell of the apocalypse in the air.
The Iberian segment of the retrospective brings a dystopian satire of the Portuguese director Antonio Ferreira (Embargo) that based on the novel by Jose Saramago, whose basic principle owes ​​much to the Coen brothers. It is followed by the Spanish comedy Carmina o revienta whose queer author Paco Leon plays with the title of Aranda's film Carmina o revienta, with another Spanish woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown and smelling of stolen ham and Andalusian madness. (Dragan Rubeša)