By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

TIFF ’11: City-To-City, Buenos Aires Titles

Toronto – The Toronto International Film Festival® proudly welcomes back its City to City programme for the third consecutive year with today’s announcement of the 10 feature-length films encompassing the 2011 lineup. Earlier this year, Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Festival, confirmed that the 2011 spotlight would shine on Buenos Aires and introduce audiences to a newly inspired generation of Argentine filmmakers. The City to City series is an exploration of the urban experience, highlighting the best in emerging cinematic talent in a particular locale.

“We found an impressive new generation of filmmakers in Buenos Aires and a thriving film culture,” said Cameron Bailey. “We can’t wait to present these films to the world’s film critics and distributors, and especially to our audience.”

“Argentine film has been inspiring international audiences since the late 1990s, but with this programme, we wanted to consider to what extent this success is an urban phenomenon rather than simply a question of national cinema,” added Kate Lawrie Van de Ven, City to City Programmer. “The array of perspectives we’ve seen while programming this series speaks strongly of the diverse influences this community of filmmakers is bringing to the screen. There’s a dynamic film scene in the city, and many of the new directors are working in contrasting dialogue with the styles established in the 2000s by leading Argentine directors like Lucrecia Martel, Lisandro Alonso and Pablo Trapero. There’s a rich array of cinematic styles emerging across Buenos Aires, from more experimental narratives to sly genre reworks, and we’re excited to bring a sampling of that diversity to TIFF.”

Additionally, TIFF is pleased to present the return of the City to City symposium, a thought-provoking dialogue between the visiting city’s filmmakers and experts on urban culture. This year’s panel, “Buenos Aires – A Conversation,” will take place on Tuesday, September 13 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, and will be open to the public. Admission is free. Further details on featured panellists and invited guests will follow.

Caprichosos de San Telmo Alison Murray, Argentina/Canada World Premiere A portrait of the working-class musicians and dancers of Buenos Aires’s San Telmo neighbourhood, who have channeled the city’s many cultural influences into the street performance called Murga.

The Cat Vanishes Carlos Sorin, Argentina International Premiere When Beatriz picks up her husband Luis from the sanatorium, she is not quite sure if she should believe his psychiatrist’s pronouncement that he is fully cured. Her usually churlish, academic husband is suddenly friendly and cooperative, even willing to take a trip to Brazil’s beaches. When their cat Donatello disappears, Beatriz’ suspicions lead her to question her own sanity. The tension is on high throughout in Carlos Sorin’s latest feature, The Cat Vanishes.

Crane World Pablo Trapero, Argentina Pablo Trapero’s reputation-making feature debut was a seminal work in the Argentine New Wave of the 2000s. An unadorned look at the life of a man trying to make a living as a crane operator in Buenos Aires, Crane World introduced a new talent and a new realist aesthetic to the city’s cinema.

Fatherland Nicolás Prividera, Argentina World Premiere This rigorously structured and visually engrossing essay film explores Argentina’s fractious modern history through the words of writers – both founding fathers and oppositional voices – who lay buried in Buenos Aires’s famed Recoleta Cemetery.

Invasion Hugo Santiago, Argentina Canadian Premiere Invasion is the legend of a city, imaginary or real, besieged by powerful enemies and defended by a handful of men who may not be heroes. In this rare inclusion of a retrospective title, Santiago’s protagonists will fight to the end without suspecting that their battle is endless.

A Mysterious World Rodrigo Moreno, Argentina/Germany North American Premiere After his girlfriend suddenly breaks up with him, a young man’s life transforms into an erratic urban journey inexplicably connected to his temperamental communist-era car. The latest film from Rodrigo Moreno (El Custodio) is an affectionate, singular portrait of one guileless protagonist’s quixotic journey through a period of uncertainty.

Pompeya Tamae Garateguy, Argentina North American Premiere A junior screenwriter is hired by an established film director to write his new film: a gangster movie set in Buenos Aires. In each meeting, the filmmakers create a story that takes place in an imaginary Pompeya neighbourhood, plagued by secrets, political disputes and crime. When pure fiction and reality are completely corrupted, the unexpected happens. In her first solo feature, Tamae Garateguy simultaneously lambasts the Buenos Aires filmmaking scene and the gangster film, ingeniously stirring up a volatile alchemy of genres.

The Stones Román Cárdenas, Argentina International Premiere In a quiet interrupted only by the noise of boats, a couple lives without crossing each other’s paths. He is a writer waiting for the words; she is an alienated employee of a fumigation company. The Stones explores the increasing space between two people at the same time as it maps the short distance between urban Buenos Aires and its rustic flip-side in the neighbouring Paraná Delta. Román Cárdenas pairs a spellbinding visual acuity with thrilling eruptions of comedy in this feature debut.

The Student Santiago Mitre, Argentina North American Premiere The graffitied halls, run-down classrooms and surrounding streets of the University of Buenos Aires provide the ideal location for Santiago Mitre’s briskly paced debut, The Student. Mitre brilliantly exposes the backroom dealings and negotiations in the murky world of student politics, a microcosm for the world at large, in this fictional account of a young man’s discovery of his talent for politicking through his seduction of an assistant professor and activist.

Vaquero Juan Minujín, Argentina International Premiere Julian Lamar, a 33-year-old actor working on the fringes of the Buenos Aires film scene, wants to give his career a boost by landing a role in a Western a Hollywood director is going to shoot in Argentina. Vaquero, the debut feature by Argentine actor, Juan Minujín, gives an insider’s perspective of Argentina’s film community in this hilariously dark comedy.

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Julian Schnabel: Years ago, I was down there with my cousin’s wife Corky. She was wild — she wore makeup on her legs, and she had a streak in her hair like Yvonne De Carlo in “The Munsters.” She liked to paint. I had overalls on with just a T-shirt and looked like whatever. We were trying to buy a bunch of supplies with my cousin Jesse’s credit card. They looked at the credit card, and then they looked at us and thought maybe we stole the card, so they called Jesse up. He was a doctor who became the head of trauma at St. Vincent’s. They said, “There’s somebody here with this credit card and we want to know if it belongs to you.”

He said, “Well, does the woman have dyed blonde hair and fake eyelashes and look like she stepped out of the backstage of some kind of silent movie, and is she with some guy who has wild hair and is kind of dressed like a bum?”

“Yeah, that’s them.”

“Yeah, that’s my cousin and my wife. It’s okay, they can charge it on my card.”
~ Julian Schnabel Remembers NYC’s Now-Shuttered Pearl Paint

MB Cool. I was really interested in the aerial photography from Enter the Void and how one could understand that conceptually as a POV, while in fact it’s more of an objective view of the city where the story takes place. So it’s an objective and subjective camera at the same time. I know that you’re interested in Kubrick. We’ve talked about that in the past because it’s something that you and I have in common—

GN You’re obsessed with Kubrick, too.

MB Does he still occupy your mind or was he more of an early influence?

GN He was more of an early influence. Kubrick has been my idol my whole life, my own “god.” I was six or seven years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I never felt such cinematic ecstasy. Maybe that’s what brought me to direct movies, to try to compete with that “wizard of Oz” behind the film. So then, years later, I tried to do something in that direction, like many other directors tried to do their own, you know, homage or remake or parody or whatever of 2001. I don’t know if you ever had that movie in mind for your own projects. But in my case, I don’t think about 2001 anymore now. That film was my first “trip” ever. And then I tried my best to reproduce on screen what some drug trips are like. But it’s very hard. For sure, moving images are a better medium than words, but it’s still very far from the real experience. I read that Kubrick said about Lynch’s Eraserhead, that he wished he had made that movie because it was the film he had seen that came closest to the language of nightmares.

Matthew Barney and Gaspar Noé