11st Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival
Brazil, September 24 - October 8 2009
With a sprawling program of 310 films, an endless program catalogue in different places and over one thousand screens, it’s well known that Rio International Film Festival is the premiere event for worldwide quality cinema in South America.
The event holds an open door for some of the greatest movie directors in current production, including; Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Alain Resnais (Les herbes folles), Martin Scorsese (American boy: a profile of Steven Prince), Werner Herzog (Bad lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) and Pedro Almodóvar (Los abrazos rotos). In its eleventh edition, always directed by Ilda Santiago and Walkíria Barbosa, the movie theaters, as is usual in movie-hungry Rio de Janeiro, were regularly packed, both for new films as well as retrospectives on modern icons such as French actresses Isabelle Huppert and Jeanne Moreau. We also received a visit from Ms Agnès Varda, who presented her new movie, Les plages d’Agnès, to full houses.
Opening with Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Rio International Film Festival had 60 films at the traditional Première Brazil, a section dedicated to showing new works from Brazilian directors, veterans or young filmmakers such as Esmir Filho, who won the Fipresci prize with Os famosos e os Duendes da Morte (The famous and the dead). Esmir’s film is capable of produces poetry, avoiding clichés, in dialogue with Bob Dylan’s work as a composer. This year, the winner of the Première Brazil was also The famous and the dead, a film that impressed audiences, owing to Filho’s ability to creates poetry when X-Raying a geographically distant society that is, at the same time, virtually near.
If something seemed to be lacking, it was not the fault of the programmers, but the state of Latin cinema at large, and also of a so-so year for Spanish- language cinema, whose blossoming at the turn of the millennium became one of the initial reasons for the growth of festivals such as the Buenos Aires Festival Internacional del Cine Independiente, Guadalajara’s Film Festival and Rio International Film Festival. The attraction of Latin American cinema as a destination for international programmers and critics was limited to a few films, such as Gustavo Cova’s Boogie, el aceitoso” Paula Hérnandez’ Lluvia and Juan José Campanella’s El secreto de sus ojos, all from Argentina. (Rodrigo Fonseca & Mario Abbade)
Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival: www.festivaldorio.com.br