54th BFI London Film Festival brings a wide range of Argentinian films, and the odd Peruvian and Bolivian, to England

By 09 September, 2010

Lovers of South American film need not wait long for another fix. BFI’s South American Renaissance season lasted the month of the August and was quickly followed by Inffinito’s 2nd Brazilian Film Festival of London. Now BFI have released the programme for the 54th edition of the London Film Festival and it makes very good reading for anyone interested in Argentine cinema. There’s four Argentinian productions at the festival, which runs from the 13th until the 28th of October. There’s also a Bolivian and a Peruvian film on show, as well as a severe lack of Brazilian films, no doubt avoided because of Inffinito’s film fest, which finished only last week.

Two of the films being shown won great acclaim at May’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival with October receiving the Uncertain Regard Jury Prize and the three actresses from The Lips sharing the Best Actress award, so there is some real calibre here. Without further ado then, the films on offer with a real South American flavour are as follows:

Carancho (2010)
Director Pablo Trapero

In Argentina over 8,000 people die in traffic accidents every year. Behind each of these tragedies is a flourishing industry founded on insurance payouts and legal loopholes. Sosa is a lawyer who tours the A&E Departments of the public hospitals and the police stations in search of potential clients. Luján is a young doctor recently arrived from the provinces. Their love story kicks off one night when Luján and Sosa meet in the street. She’s trying to save a man’s life; he wants him on his client portfolio.

Sun 24th Oct 17:45 / Vue Screen 5
Mon 25th Oct 14:45 / Vue Screen 5

David Gatten’s Journal and Remarks
Director David Gatten

David Gatten, one of the most accomplished young film artists to emerge in recent years, returns to London to discuss a visit to the Galapagos Islands and to screen the film he shot there. The journey was an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of naturalist Charles Darwin, whose expedition in the 1830s shaped the theory of evolution. The islands off the west coast of Ecuador have changed little since that time, and still sustain a unique array of endemic species. In the absence of predatory mammals, native animals do not fear humans, enabling Gatten to shoot in close proximity to such exotic creatures as giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies.

Wed 27th Oct 14:30 / Natural History Museum

It’s Your Fault (Por Tu Culpa) (2010)
Director Anahí Berneri

Are we what others see, or are we what we allow others to see? Most likely it is the view of others which delimits our own identity, as a young divorced mother named Julieta convinces herself. This evening is like any other: her two young sons are roughhousing in their cramped apartment. They whoop and shout while their mother makes desperately futile attempts at the computer to concentrate on writing a report for work. Feeling intense pressure, Julieta tries to quiet the conflict but finds it difficult without a partner to help. The tense situation changes unexpectedly when her two-year-old falls and hurts himself. In this story of a mother suspected of hurting her own child, the movie investigates themes of motherhood, guilt, duty, the role of men and women, fathers and mothers…. Despite loving our children, to what extent do we in fact hurt them? This intimate drama, critically distinguishing itself with regard to many aspects of our everyday lifestyles, focuses on middleclass white-collar workers trying to maintain their standard of living. It touches on the lack of communication between adults and the differences in their abilities to love children or merely raise them….

Thu 21st Oct 20:30 / NFT2
Fri 22nd Oct 16:30 / Ritzy Screen 2

The Lips (Los Labios) (2010)
Directors Santiago Loza and Iván Fund

Three women travel to a distant place to do welfare work. They assist, listen, stay with the unprotected. An old hospital in ruins accommodates them. The imposed group life gets more complex as they start to know each other. The relationship with the others, the community, is also difficult. But, as days go by, they will start to melt into that human landscape surrounding them. To be part of the mystery of otherness.

Thu 14th Oct 20:30
Fri 15th Oct 16:00
Sat 16th Oct 13:30

October (Octubre) (2010)
Directors Diego Vega and Daniel Vega

Clemente, a moneylender of few words, is a new hope for Sofía, his single neighbor, devoted to the October worship of Our Lord of the Miracles. They’re brought together over a new-born baby, fruit of Clemente’s relationship with a prostitute who’s nowhere to be found. While Clemente is looking for the girl’s mother, Sofía cares for the baby and looks after the moneylender’s house. With the arrival of these beings in his life, Clemente has the opportunity to reconsider his emotional relations with people.

Sun 24th Oct 21:15 / Vue Screen 3
Mon 25th Oct 15:15 / Vue Screen 6

Patagonia (2010)
Director Marc Evans

In the midst of the stunning mountain ranges of Patagonia, is an almost mythical community of Welsh natives, born of settlers who landed there in the late 1800s. With his fine film, Patagonia director Marc Evans (Snow Cake) incorporates the culture and countryside of both countries to tell the tales of two women searching for resolution. In Cardiff, Gwen and her husband Rhys have felt significant strain on their relationship since they have been unable to conceive a child. When Rhys is sent on a photographic project to Patagonia, Gwen sees a chance to repair their relationship with a bit of adventurous escapism. In Patagonia, elderly Argentinean native, Cerys is starting a secret pilgrimage to the Welsh countryside that was once the home of her long lost mother. Her somewhat nervous nephew, Alejandro, is along as chaperone, and unexpectedly discovers a possible future of his own with a seductive Welsh girl (pop singer Duffy). Though their paths never cross, the journeys are analogous: Gwen’s quest for meaning in her family’s future leads to unwelcome adventure, while Cerys’ search for the truth about her heritage produces no easy answers. Together, their stories make Patagonia a film of intimate moments that play out against the sweeping panoramic landscapes.

Thu 21st Oct 18:00 / Vue Screen 6
Fri 22nd Oct 12:15 / Vue Screen 5
Sat 23rd Oct 13:30 / Ritzy Screen 2

The Peddler (El Ambulante) (2009)
Directors Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich

Riding into town in his beat-up car, Daniel Burmeister, armed only with a camera, a few movie scripts, and a trunk load of ingenuity, brings a unique proposal to each Argentine village he visits: he barters with the authorities to exchange one month’s lodging and foodfor the creation of one feature film starring the locals. The Peddler follows Burmeister on his latest project, Let’s Kill the Uncle, as he single-handedly and meticulously oversees every aspect of production. With his nuggets of wisdom and unwavering patience and problem-solving, Burmeister’s hand-crafted filmmaking style and DIY mentality are both inspiring and hilarious. For the villagers, his productions become a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work together, discover a hidden talent, and have their very own 15 minutes of fame.

Sun 17th Oct 21:00 / NFT1
Tue 19th Oct 16:15 / NFT1
Wed 20th Oct 18:45 / ICA 1

Southern District (Zona Sur) (2009)
Director Juan Carlos Valdivia

In La Paz -as opposed to many other cities- the rich live below, which is the Southern District. Life goes on without major mishaps in a large house surrounded by a beautiful garden. It is a wonderful world, a great bubble of comfort, where different personal spheres coexist: the mother, along with her three children and the Aymara inhabitants of the house. The drama surfaces slowly, without narrative ploys, observing day-to-day activities until internal and external forces make the bubble burst. The film relates the story of the final days of an upper-class family, at a time when the country is undergoing social changes.

Tue 19th Oct 21:00 / Vue Screen 3
Wed 20th Oct 13:00 / Vue Screen 3
Sat 23rd Oct 18:30 / Ritzy Screen 2

Waste Land (2010)
Director Lucy Walker

A joy to watch despite the abject poverty it contains, “Waste Land” transcends the artist-doc format and has a broad emotional appeal that should ensure a warm reaction from theatrical audiences. Easily as concerned with social and environmental issues as it is with the fine-art career that sets it in motion, the movie never focuses on big issues at the expense of the individuals it encounters.

Fri 15th Oct 17:45 / Vue Screen 5
Sat 16th Oct 15:00 / Vue Screen 7

What I Love The Most (Lo Que Más Quiero) (2010)
Director Delfina Castagnino

The friendship between two friends is tested in this confident and beautifully performed debut feature by Argentine director Delfina Castagnino.

Pilar lives in the south. She recently lost her father and is now on her own. María came to visit her, to keep her company and take a break from the boyfriend she’s on the point of leaving. Neither has the wherewithal to comfort the other. Neither knows what they want. They barely know what they don’t want. They don’t want to go back to their lives. They don’t want to think about the future. They don’t want to be alone. They don’t want their holiday to end. A timber yard about to close, a horse and a dog, a few men, a little alcohol and the cold waters of the southern lakes.

Sun 24th Oct 18:15 / NFT2
Wed 27th Oct 16:15 / NFT3

More info:
BFI’s 54th London Film Festival Official Page

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