The connection between Latin America and the Cannes Film Festival, which started today, has been rather weak in the past decades. This year is no exception: the only director from the region vying for this year’s Palme d’Or is the Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz, who’s presenting his English Language debut, the historical drama Firebrand, starring Michelle Williams as Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry The VIII.
Yet Latin America’s emerging and established filmmakers have always managed to squeeze into the program. This year, Argentina has managed to gain a rather small but meaningful presence, with popular filmmaker Damián Szifrón being invited to the jury of the official competition. The creator of the hit TV show The Pretenders and director of Wild Tales —which premiered in competition at Cannes in 2014— will serve under jury president Ruben Ostlund, a two-time Palme d’Or winner with The Square (2017) and Triangle of Sadness (2022).
An Argentine favorite in Cannes has also made his return to the Palais de Festivals: Lisandro Alonso will present his latest film Eureka in the non-competitive Cannes Première. This is Alonso’s sixth participation at the festival after La libertad (2001), The Dead (2004), Fantasma (2006), Liverpool (2008) and Jauja (2014), which premiered in different sections of the festival.
Starring Viggo Mortensen, José María Yazpik, Chiara Mastroianni and Viilbjørk Malling Agger, Eureka is reportedly a four-part story that explores Native American culture, from 1870 to 2019, in the US, Mexico, and the Amazon jungle. The first episode, Western, takes place on the US-Mexico border in 1870. The second one, Pine Ridge, is set in a Native reservation in South Dakota, while the third one, Amazonia, follows a member of an Amazon tribe named Ubirajara. The script was written by Alonso together with Argentine writer Fabián Casas, with whom he also collaborated on Jauja.
In the Un Certain Regard official section, Rodrigo Moreno (The Custodian, A Mysterious World) will bring his first-ever Cannes entry The Delinquents, one of the three Latin American films in the program. Starring Margarita Molfino, Esteban Bigliardi, and Cecilia Rainero, The Delinquents follows two bank employees, Román and Morán, who question their routines and their daily lives. One of them finds a solution: committing a crime.
An Argentine-Spain co-production, the short film None of That (Argentina/España), directed by Patricio Martínez and Francisco Cantón, will compete for the Palme d’Or in that category. Starred by Erica Rivas it’s the story of a mother who accidentally drives her car into a mansion’s flower patch while driving with her daughter, who will need to provide a solution before her mother’s visceral fascination with the house and its owner drives them both to a point of no return.
Finally, an Argentine icon is coming to Cannes: the Cannes Classics section will screen René Mugica’s adaptation of one of Jorge Luis Borges’ most famous short stories, El hombre de la esquina rosada (“Man on the Pink Corner”). It describes El Corralero, a hit-man who wants to change his life for the better, following a pardon from the Buenos Aires governor. Yet destiny will make him the avenger of his former cell partner.
“Out of all the film adaptations of my work, there was only one that was good: the bad short story Hombre de la esquina rosada was the inspiration for an excellent film of the same title, directed by René Mugica. This was an admirable film, a lot better than the weak story that inspired it,” Borges once said to Radio de España.
The original 1962 film will be screened in a digitally restored 4K print made out of the original 35mm negatives that were preserved by its production company Argentina Sono Film.
The Cannes Film Festival will run until Sunday May 27.