Rodrigo Sorogoyen | Spain | 2016 | Fiction | 125 min | NM Premiere
Que dios nos perdone is a contemporary masterpiece taking on an old cinematic trope: the pair of detectives. Alfaro and Velarde are tracking down another common archetype-villain for detective hunts: the possible serial killer. Mysterious and nubulous from the beginning, Velarde and Alfaro use the best of their knowledge and logic to erase and rub away as much of that mystery as they possibly can. Then, another common subject is explored in depth: when detetctives hunt criminals, they have to a think like a criminal. Much like method actors who have to actually act like their character on and off set, detetcives have to a practive a similar artform of thinking in someone else's shoes... until you get so good at it it's hard to tell the difference between yourself and who you are hunting. When they finally have strong leads, we as viwers come to understand the detectives (and ourselves) in an entirely new way. Action, Philosophy, Suspense, Pyschology all mixed into one well-composed visual opera. Sorogoyen is a cinema alchemist and makes a refreshing, contemporary take on a well-trodden trope of film narrative.
Let’s take a look at the awards this film won. Goya Awards: 6 Nominations including Best Film, Director and Actor; San Sebastian Film Festival: Best Screenplay; Feroz Awards: Best Actor (Roberto Álamo); Platino Awards: Nominated for Best Editing. This film was recognized for nearly every core aspect of production. It is clear that this project is not only about a director or an actor. This was the work of a close-knit team with spectacular creative talent. The editor, Alberto del Campo, is known for his previous work on the taught dramas “Stockholm” and “Madre”. Both films have a similarly clean, streamlined, crisp and sharp texture.
This feature film will make del Campo’s editing shine through crisp storytelling and sharp transitions. Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen was born in Madrid and is the grandson of director Antonio del Amo). See you all there for this taut drama-thriller featuring a classic hunt for a killer, and the profoundly amazing truths such a hunt reveals about our own psyches, and those of the detectives themselves.
My Mother is a Parrot
Martin Musarra | Argentina | 2016 | Fiction | 80 min | NM Premiere
Martín Musarra is the author and director of this magical feature film. We are calling him an author because his screenplay for this film feels so much like a magical story converted to the contemporary cinematic platform. Imagine the genius of Walt Disney, Roald Dahl and Guillermo del Toro all rolled into one. That is Mi mama lora.
In real life, there are mysterious and seemingly magical powers floating all around us - sometimes if you look at something just right, it may even feel surreal, like you're in an animated story. Many artists throughout history have touched on this feeling in their work. In both the fields of literature and animation, famous works like James and the Giant Peach, Alice in Wonderland, so many of Walt Disney's stories, as well as more recent imaginations of the theme in hits like Toy Story capture this common sensation that we feel everyday on some level: surreality. Wiktionary defines surreality as "the state of being incongruous"; in other words, the state of being or feeling out of harmony with your normal surroundings. That's why you'll hear someone say, "Oh my, you should have seen it, it was surreal!" The word surreal connotes something extraordinary happening within otherwise ordinary surroundings. It reminds me of the great film Matilda, and director Musarra has mentioned in interviews that working on children's films opens up the doors to a lot of creativity and storytelling.
Combining all the best parts of magic, surrealism, and magic realism, El Mar del Plata film festival writes about Mi mama lora: “Shot in Concordia, Entre Ríos, Martín Musarra’s film is impregnated with Latin American magical realism aesthetics as it tells a strange fable—between animal and human—that reflects on our essence. Mi mamá lora breaks every stereotype of beauty, genre, and power, and that is—together with its fine cinematographic rhythm—its most precious treasure.“
Musarra teams up with screenwriters Diana Russo and Paula Mastellone, as well as music composer Yair Hilal. Hilal, Argentinian, has previous clients that include Honda, Toyota and McDonald's. He has done work in television and film before, but this will be his biggest chance to shine; or perhaps Musarra wanted a music composer who would simply deliver something solid and not over the top. After all, Musarra wants to create a highly realistic magic. Think hi-def magic realism. Costume design is incredible. This is a perfect film for the entire family. It will stimulate and nourish our minds with fresh angles and ways of looking at everyday life and interactions. The children are sure to be wide-eyed in wonder and the adults are to be mesmerized by the storytelling and Kafka-esque metaphors for life. See you all there!!
Fernando Fraiha | Brazil-Argentina | 2016 | Fiction | 100 min | NM Premiere
Two friends hit the road to Buenos Aires aboard an orange Opala 72, with a mission: be with as many women as possible. This is all a plan to wash the honor of "Caco", a man who found his girlfriend in bed with an Argentine.
Caco plans on surprising his girlfriend with a marriage proposal one day, but instead catches her in the act of cheating on him – worst of all with an Argentinean. Vadão, Caco’s best friend, drags him on a revenge trip from Brazil to Argentina. While Vadão is in high adventure mode, Caco is focused on getting his ex-girlfriend back. But not everything goes as they expect... It seems life really does happen when you are making other plans. Beyond many things, this movie teaches us to focus on life and not necessarily the squeaky clean image we all have of our futures. Sometimes, one needs to "let go" to get back on track.
El revenge (“La Vinganca” original title), is a film by Brazilian director Fernando Fraiha. Born in Sao Paulo, this is his feature-length directorial debut. He started working at age 25 editing documentaries and working his creative outlet through experimental drama plays as a video artist. Directing this feature length film is a big move for Fraiha as a creative artist in Brazilian cinema. Fraiha has also been active as a producer and partner in Bionica Filmes. He produced the 2014 box office hit “Os Homens Sao de Marte”, as well as “Psi” - an HBO original series.
So, we come into this movie with a successful producer with a ton of very off-the-beaten-path, experimental history as a video artist and as a writer. And he is making his debut as a director. Ingredients for an very interesting film. His previous successes have been with comedies that reveal hilarious yet dark social truths about society and relationships using narrative as a tool for social critique. The storyline to this film, conceived and written by Jiddu Pinheiro, seems fitting for Fraiha’s interests as a filmmaker. Jiddu Pinheiro is known as an actor for his role in 2011’s O Muro, a story about a divorcee moving into a new home where she notices ongoing fights between a mother and her child. This history outlines another interest of Fraiha’s, which is less comedic and gets to the those darker, underlying layers about interpersonal relationships and deep emotions. It will be great to see this duo - one known as an actor and the other as a producer - make important debuts as writer and director respectively. See you all there for this hilarious, yet deep, Brazilian comedy!
We all know the game of chess - even if we don't know all the rules or are not so good at playing it, we all know of the game. We know it as the ultimate game of strategy: a thinker's game. From a young age, all around the world, we are taught that chess is something that is to be respected and held almost sacred, even if we never become players or aficionados ourselves. Therefore, the world's best chess players occupy a very unique position in our society. Firstly, they are masters at a game which is known globally, which makes them great speakers of a universal language of strategy. Master chess players are, in a way, sort of like yogis, sages, gurus, swamis, mentors, mystics and other master practitioners. Secondly, they are respected and revered in a similar way to great warriors and the artists of war - you may have heard of samurai, commandos, knights - masters of war (not necessarily violence) but of strategy. There is an ages-old, unspoken and unwritten bond between the mighty sovereign and the humble master strategist - between the monarch and the chess player. This is a story about one of Spain's greatest chess players, who falls into a challenging situation in which the chessplayer (Marc Clotet) needs to use his mastery of the game in order to gain back his own freedom.
This is really a must-see for the whole family, couples, students, artists, film buffs, and everyone in between. Director Luis Oliveros’ connection to Hungarian music composer Jonas Breckl (who scored this film) is not by accident. In 2011, Oliveros had a big opportunity to direct the TV movie “Angles of Budapest” which actually told the story of a Spanish diplomat in Hungary. Before that film, Oliveros had mostly worked as an assistant director. His work on “Angels of Budapest” clearly provided much inspiration and creative direction as he used Hungarian cinema artists throughout this feature, El jugador de ajedrez, or “The Chessplayer”.
Lead actor Marc Clotet is born and raised in Barcelona, where he began his career rising to intermediate levels of stardom in television series such as “Amar es para siempre”. It will be interesting to see him work in this dramatic and meticulous role.
Something to watch out for in the film: the costume design, which is riveting and striking, truly transporting you into this time and place. Returning to the music - Breckl is a Hungarian composer known mostly for his work with well known Hungarian film director, Bela Tarr. Bela Tarr is known for pioneering “social cinema”, a body of work that treats fictional stories with the ethic and philosophy of a documentary. Socially accurate portrayals in the cinema of Tarr have been scored musically by Breckl, and we get to see Breckl at work here in El jugador de ajedrez. The acute drama of a chess move - the silence… how will Breckl fill it in with music that helps tell the story? It will be exciting and inspiring to watch this film. See you all there!