The BAFICI Made Easy
Article by Kevin Vaughn.
This is going to be the fourth time that I attend the BAFICI (Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival) and have learned from my mistakes. Choosing a solid list of films to watch is a daunting task with hundreds of films played over twelve days to sort through. Not to mention that a large majority are movies that even the nerdiest of cinephiles have never heard of. Doing your research, no matter how laborious, is clave.
There was one year that I mapped out every single movie. I watched 11 movies that year and there was only one that I didn’t enjoy. Another year I walked into every film blindly based on where I was on any given day. That was the year I caught Guy Maddin’s Keyhole, which I still maintain as one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and the rest of the selection didn’t fare much better. So this year, I’ve decided to follow the same pattern as the former, and am here to share my hit list, day by day.
Taste in movies is obviously extremely subjective, so do research on top of my own.
Day 1, April 2nd
The Congress by Ari Folman (10pm, Parque Centenario)
There is only one movie available on opening night, so the selection is simple. The Congress is Israeli director Ari Folman’s directorial follow-up to his 2008 animated documentary of the 1982 Lebanon War. Part live action, part animated sci-fi, the movie stars Robin Wright as an aging actress that agrees to sell her image in order to live on for eternity in the movie. The screening is free and will be played outdoors at the Parque Centenario Amphitheater, so expect LINES.
Day 2, April 3rd
Kill List by Ben Wheatley (11:30pm, Village Recoleta)
Kill List is admittedly a heavy way to start off the week; its part hit man thriller part vintage throwback to 70s gore horror. Ojo, because the violence is unforgiving and the ending so unhinging that you might need a partner to walk home afterwards.
Day 3, April 4th
20,000 Days on Earth by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (2:35pm, Village Recoleta)
This is going to be a popular one, so if you are a Nick Cave fan grab those tickets ya. The cult rock star wrote and stars in 20,000 Days on Earth, imagining his, you guessed it. 20,000th stars Kylie Minogue, so yeah.
Day 4, April 5th
Omar (6:50pm, Arteplex Belgrano)
There are a lot of wonderful films coming out of Palestine and Israel recently that bring fresh visions to the conflicted area. Omar got a lot of attention last year (even being nominated for an Oscar) for creating a narrative not only about the conflict between the two countries but for its human examination of issues of trust, friendship and loyalty. Probably the most mainstream of all our choices, it’s said to be slightly predictable, but worthy of being seen on the big screen.
Day 5, April 6th
Night Moves (13:50, Arteplex Belgrano)
This is the sixth film by American director and BAFICI favorite Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Old Joy). I have followed Jesse Eisenberg’s career since his debut in The Squid and the Whale, and although I like the guy, his performances often feel a little one-noted. This film and another called The Double may make this the year of the Eisenberg, not to mention Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning.
Day 6, April 7th
Weekend of a Champion by Frank Simon (1:50pm, Village Caballito)
This documentary was originally shot in 1971 during the Monaco Grand Prix when director Roman Polanski went to watch his friend race car driver Jackie Stewart. The footage was scrapped until director Frank Simon pieced the story back together; this is a rare opportunity and what looks like a wonderful look at a rougher moment in race car driving.
Day 7, April 8th
Upstream Color by Shane Carruth (8:30pm, Cineplex Belgrano)
A favorite in the festival circuit, this film is the anticipated follow-up to Shane Carruth’s Primer. I’ve already seen the film, and although it takes a number of viewings before the plot begins to make sense, it is such a visual exhilaration that I’m excited to see it for the third time on a big screen.
Day 8, April 9th
How to Disappear Completely by Raya Martin (6:25pm, Village Recoleta)
I’ve chosen almost all Western flicks, and so How to Disappear Completely was chosen mostly on the merit of wanting a film that represented the East. The trailer for this story about a young girl that wants to be kidnapped by a mythical woman in the forest looks fresh and vibrant, and director Raya Martin looks to be riding the tide of a critically acclaimed Philippine New Wave.
Day 9, April 10th
Fulboy by Martín Farina (5pm, El Cultural San Martin)
I chose this film as a companion to tomorrow’s movie. Fulboy is a documentary that humanizes the members of an Argentine soccer team by demonstrating their private lives, struggles and doubts about life post-soccer.
Day 10, April 11th
Hoop Dreams by Steve James (7pm, Village Recoleta)
THIS. Go see this. What began as a 30 minute PBS short about inner city black kids being recruited by wealthy suburban white schools to play basketball turned into a three hour documentary that charted five years of two of those kids’ lives, one who got into the school and one that didn’t. The most human portrait of life in the inner city. Seriously, THIS.
Day 11, April 12th
Tip Top (3:40pm, Cineplex Belgrano)
I chose this film on the merit of Isabelle Huppert alone, who turns every performance into gold. Tip Top looks like wonderfully stylized film and a very French version of an Almodovar flick.
Day 12, April 13th
Big Bad Wolves (4:10pm, Cineplex Belgrano)
Big Bad Wolves was chosen by Quentin Tarantino as his favorite film of the year, it’s early in the year, but do we need anything more?
Let us know what some of your choices are!