The newest Argentine cinema, the latest from internationally renowned art-house filmmakers, dozens of world premieres by emerging directors, and the first retrospective of a contemporary Indian filmmaker are among the highlights of the 24th edition of the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (Bafici).
The full program was announced on Thursday at a press conference in the Usina del Arte cultural center, lead by the city’s Culture Minister Enrique Avogadro, the undersecretary of Cultural Management Vivi Cantoni and the festival’s artistic director Javier Porta Fouz.
One of the top film festivals in the region focusing on international off-mainstream production, Bafici’s programming includes three main competitions (International, Argentine, and Avant-garde & Genres), animation side-bar ‘Baficito’, several retrospectives, conferences and special activities, and outdoor screenings, including a Drive-In located in Costanera Sur.
Concentrated around theaters in the Buenos Aires downtown area, the festival will run from April 19 to May 1 (the last day will only offer online screenings) with a program that adds a total of 250 films –between short and feature-length films– half of which are world premieres, according to the organizers.
All films are subtitled in English and tickets are priced at a very accessible AR$300 (US$ 1.4 at the official rate and US$ 0.76 at the MEP dollar rate). Several films will also be available online during the festival on the Vivamos Cultura platform.
This edition –dedicated to director and film professor Rafael Filipelli, who passed away on March 22– will officially kick off on April 19 with the world premiere of Last Resort, the tenth film by prolific young director/producer/scriptwriter Matías Szulanski, starring María Villar and Tamara Leschner.
The film is an Argentine fiction feature about a sports magazine’s investigation of an apparent first edition of the World Cup in 1926 that was won by Argentina, and somehow got erased from history.
The Opening Night program also includes the short film Continuum: The Beach, by Tucumán-born director Mariana Bomba, a love story between two women in the early 90s.
Actor, director and playwright Rajat Kapoor will be the object of the festival’s first ever retrospective of a contemporary Indian filmmaker. Kapoor, a Bollywood star and Charlie Chaplin fan who mixes classic genres with modernity topics, will attend the festival to serve on the international competition jury.
Local highlights include the three Argentine feature-length films in the international competition: actress Dolores Fonzi’s directorial debut Blondi, Juan Agustín Carbonere’s The Saint, and Southern Storm, directed by Edgardo Dieleke and Daniel Casabé. Also, Argentina 1985 co-writer Mariano Llinás, a cult filmmaker who directed the 14-hour film La Flor, will present his latest film Clorindo Testa, originally a commissioned documentary about the renowned architect of the National Library building that turns into an insight into his connection with poet Julio Llinás, the filmmaker’s father.
Actress Vera Fogwill returns to the director’s chair after 18 years with Conversations on Hatred, a psychological thriller co-directed with Diego Martínez and starring Cecilia Roth. Other highlights include Martín Shanly’s Berlinale entry About Thirty, and Enrique Bellande’s Life in the Dark, a documentary on Argentine film historian and archivist Fernando Martín Peña.
Child and young adult-oriented section Baficito (Little Bafici) has a nine-film program including The Black Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess, the latest from award-winning French director Michel Ocelot, who revitalized French animation with his Kirikou films, based on the African legendary character.
Baficito will also bring Oscar-nominated Brazilian director Ale Abrey to the festival to present his latest film Perlimps. The 1975 Argentine classic Trapito, by legendary Argentine animator Manuel García Ferré, will return in a new 4K restoration made by the director’s grandson Julio Fermepin.
As usual, the non-competitive sections of the program are organized by theme, such as ‘Comedies’, ‘Cinema on Cinema’, ‘Late Night’, and the new category, ‘Politics’. Among them, ‘Careers’ will offer the newest films by established art house directors such as Korea’s Hong Sang-Soo (In Water), Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader (Master Gardener), Lav Díaz (When the Waves Are Gone), and Pietro Marcello (Scarlet). The festival’s film catalog will be already available for download on the Bafici website.
The Focus section will offer selections from the work of young French director and regisseur Clément Cogitore and five films from Spanish filmmaker Norberto Ramos del Val, who will join the Avant-Garde & Genre jury and whose latest work I’m a Good Person will serve as the Closing Night film of this edition of Bafici.
“We are facing new forms of thinking about films,” artistic director Javier Porta Fouz told Télam. “When Bafici started back in 1999 you had films that toured through festivals for a year and a half and they were still available. Today, a film is shown in a festival and three months later it’s on the streaming platforms.
He emphasized the need to “make cinema a place of reunion between spectators and directors again.”
Tickets can be purchased online from April 11 at 10 a.m on the Vivamos Cultura website, or in the following box offices:
April 11 to 18 – Tuesdays to Sundays
Centro Cultural San Martín (Sarmiento 1551) 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
April 19 to 30 – Every day from the start of the first screening to the start of the last screening
Centro Cultural San Martín (Sarmiento 1551)
Cine Cosmos (Av. Corrientes 2046)
Espacio INCAA Cine Gaumont (Av. Rivadavia 1635)
Multiplex Lavalle (Lavalle 780)
Cine Lorca (Av. Corrientes 1428)
Arthaus (Bartolomé Mitre 434)
Access to the theaters will be restricted and tickets will expire once the screening starts. Free screenings require prior online reservation on the Vivamos Cultura website starting on April 11 at 10 a.m. Entrance is on a first-come first-served basis and subject to each venue’s capacity.
Correction, April 3, 2023: this article previously stated that Blondi was the only Argentine film in the international competition