28th Mar del Plata International Film Festival
Argentina, November 16 - November 24 2013
The 28th edition of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival took place between November 16th and 24th 2013. A Class A festival, an outline of its history and its features and are aptly described in last year’s report.
Subject to permanent changes, budget problems and political interference over the years, this edition went on with success and no trouble, more or less along the same lines of previous editions. Although the festival keeps its international profile in the main competition and also offers retrospectives of important directors (this year featured Pierre Etaix, John Landis and Bong Joon-ho — all three of them were in attendance — plus Rossellini, Jancsó and the first films of Hitchcock) it has increasingly come to specialize in films from Latin America. Not only because of the Latin American and Argentinean competitions, but also because of the presence of regional films all along the lineup, including 18 old Argentinian films that have been restored.
With the rescued film material offered in this edition were the newsreels (shown originally in theaters) corresponding to the coverage of the initial years of the festival, from its foundation in 1954 through the early 60s. Usually funny and naïve (many times unintentionally), reels from the Perón era were included, but there was also material from the anti-Peronist governments that followed. Remarkably, they shared the same tone (and the same voice-over) and a peculiar combination of patriotism, grandiloquence and admiration towards the stars arriving to the country, their glamour and their leisure-living. The warm reception to film celebrities shown in those old reports persist somehow in the present day, and Mar del Plata keeps its tradition of having a very enthusiastic audience; as usual, most of the screenings were packed and the applause to all films and directors was mandatory.
The International Competition was won by The Golden Cage (La jaula de oro), first feature by Mexican director Diego Quemada-Diez, and the Best Director award went to the Venezuelan film Bad Hair (Pelo malo) directed by Mariana Rondón. A Mexican film won the main competition and the same happened with the Latin American one and the FIPRESCI prize (to be given to a film in the Latin American section) as well. While the official prize went to The Amazing Catfish (Los insólitos peces gato) by Claudia Saint-Luce, we gave our award to Penumbra by Eduardo Villanueva. (Eduardo Antin (Quintín))
Mar del Plata International Film Festival: www.mardelplatafilmfest.com