30th Mar del Plata International Film Festival
Argentina, October 22 - November 5 2015
The windy shore is one of the unavoidable qualities of Mar del Plata’s Film Festival. The refreshing scent of the sea fills the air in a city center in which several theatres are within walking distance from each other. Beautiful squares, beaches and a central pedestrian street filled with dining options allow the cinephile to have a pleasant break from the flux of film. The festival lasts 8 days in which people talk about movies, and nothing but movies. This year, an offering of 400 films from all over the world seemed capable of causing chronic indigestion even in the most willing addicts.
This festival was honored with the presence of three renowned directors: the Canadian Atom Egoyan, who presented Remember, a story about anti-Nazi senile revenge; the French Arnaud Desplechin, with his very “Desplechian” My golden Days (Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse), and the Hong-Kong director Johnnie To with his forgettable musical The Office (Hua li shang ban zu). As if he were one of the characters in his film, To confessed to the audience that during his stay in Mar del Plata he wasn’t watching movies, but enjoying barbecues and local restaurants.
The Festival’s main award, the Golden Astor for Best Feature Film, went to Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent (El abrazo de la serpiente), a remarkable immersion in the Colombian jungle, infected with the spirit of Apocalypse Now or Aguirre: The Wrath of God. The Silver Astor for Best Director went to Pablo Larraín’s The Club (El club) – a unique and ferocious critique of Catholicism. The Silver Astor for Best Actor was given to the four male leads of the same film. The best actress award went to the incredible Erica Rivas, in the role of a young widow with two daughters who tries to rebuild her own life in the altogether outstanding Incident Light (La luz incidente) by Ariel Rotter.
Although the International Competition was quite good, it was apparent that many of the best films were offered by the Argentinian and Latin-American competitions – a proof of the increasing quality and strength of new South American directors of both documentary and fiction films. The Argentinian films Easy Ball (Hijos nuestros), Docile Bodies (Los cuerpos dóciles), El movimiento, Hortensia, How most things work (Como funcionan casi todas las cosas) and Pequeño diccionario ilustrado de la electridad, the Brazilian Campo Grande, the Venezuelan From Afar (Desde allá), and the Mexican I Promise you Anarchy (Te prometo anarquía) are great samples of how the cinema is renewing itself with fresh ideas and different ways of expressing emotions and experimenting with film language. Mar del Plata fulfills its role as a window to these wonders. (Diego Faraone, edited by Yael Shuv)
Mar del Plata International Film Festival: www.mardelplatafilmfest.com