Two Handfuls of Movies to Watch at This Year’s BAFICI
All those movie snobs out there raise yo hands!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a culture snob. And you know what? It’s ok. Life is too short to consume bad art – whether it be movies, music, food or otherwise. And before any friends out there want to question my philosophy as it relates to my affinity to gangster rap just shhhhhhh. But now I’m running off topic.
The Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival comes just once a year. For 10 days film freaks can choose from hundreds of independent films from all over the world. But what makes the BAFICI so great can also make it a complete nightmare. How does one even begin to choose a handful of films from the hundreds that have been selected? And in my particular case, how do I never ever in a million years repeat the experience that was watching Guy Maddin’s Keyhole. There was Isabella Rossellini being her weird self, and, uh, and a very old man and a glory hole, I’ll stop there.
To help you simplify the process here are two handfuls of movies worth checking out this year.
TELL YA KIDS, TELL YA WIFE, CAUSE THESE ARE GONNA SELL OUT YA
These are movies that have been hitting the festival circuits all year long but most likely won’t be picked up for wide release in Argentina. So if you get lazy with ticket buying you are either going to have to cross every appendage in hopes that they get uploaded to piratebay or just, you know, never ever see them.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night premiered at Sundance to wide acclaim. If its trailer is any indication, the black and white cinematography, throwback soundtrack and stylish editing means a hip Eastern union of Jarmusch and Tarantino. Girl simply oozes cool. That it comes out of Iran and represents a style and genre most people wouldn’t associate with the country will make this a surefire sell out.
What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary vampire movie (another one yes but bear with me) from the guys behind Flight of the Concords and Eagle vs. Shark. Christopher Guest meets Shaun of the Dead, yes plis. Citizenfour is the Edward Snowden documentary that won Best Documentary at last year’s Academy Awards. Politics, conspiracy theories, and a documentary that calls out the United States government, what local isn’t going to want to see this movie?
Which brings us to a completely different Washington documentary: Salad Days. This music documentary charts the explosion of the underground punk scene of the 1980s that existed parallel to the conservative Reagan era DC culture. I have a theory that Argentines would mosh pit at a Cat Power concert if given the chance, so a documentary with interviews from the likes of Dave Grohl, Thurston Moore and Henry Rollins is gonna potentially bring the moshing to the movie theater.
MOVIES THAT DOUBLE AS A SPANISH LESSON
Although over the last few years English subtitles have become more commonplace, there doesn’t seem to exist a set subtitle policy. For some walking into a non-English language movie is a red on the risk meter. But hey, it’s more fun than a lecture about the pluscuamperfecto.
The Competición oficial Argentina is a great place to begin if you want to get your Argentine language lesson on. I try my best to stay away from the Argentine mumblecorish lingering camera, day in the life, will something PLEASE JUST HAPPEN movement that is (god why?) so popular amongst local independent filmmakers. Generación artificial, Guido Models and La Princesa de Francia all appear to be films that go against the grain. Generación artificial is about a VJ that is trying to take over the human mind through video, Guido Models is a documentary about a modeling agency that tries to get young girls out of Villa 31 and La princesa de Francia is about a boy that wants to take a break from women who is suddenly surrounded by them. With a trailer that has brushstrokes of Woody Allen, I am intrigued.
Two other Spanish language movies that sound interesting (help a homie out with some trailers people!) are Dias extraños, about a young Colombian couple trying to survive in Buenos Aires, and Noche de perros, a buddy comedy about three friends whose plans to just ride around the city and drink a few beers goes horribly awry.
FOR THE FILM GEEK
I know that this entire festival is for the film geek, but it’s the panoramas that are for the true geeks. The ones who’ve seen the same movie over and over but always on a small screen and get giddy at the chance to see something on the big screen. The Isabelle Huppert (swoon) retrospective compiles a great set of the Meryl Streep of France’s work. Everything from her early work in Loulou, to her more mainstream run in Madame Bovary to her late return to form in The Piano Teacher, In Another Country and White Material.
You can also catch Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac in it’s full, originally intended 255 minute running time. If you choose to venture into that sick journey, bring tissues, a pillow and some chocolate. Or try out some old classics like David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet or Richard Brooks’ In Cold Blood.
HOLD ON DUDE, I HAVE A JOB
Fine, I get it. Not everyone can go see a movie at 3pm on a Tuesday. But if you’re headed to the late night showings, prepare to get weird because the Nocturna program is filled with movies about vampires (yes more vampires), porn stars and zombie actresses. Summer of Blood is another vampire movie in the vein of What We Do in the Shadows. It’s about a 40-something recently single guy who is down on his luck with the ladies (he is an asshole after all) until he gets bitten by a vampire. It Follows is a 70s style campy horror flick. The trailer looks legitimately terrifying and is being heralded by a lot of critics as the return of classic terror.
Kevin Smith tries his hand out with horror his bizarre Tusk, about a podcaster that chooses to interview the wrong man and has been called a mixture of “The Fly and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.
So there you go. BAFICI 2015 simplified and handed to you on a silver platter.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.