The 27th Mar Del Plata International Film Festival took place in late November and with the closing ceremony came the much-awaited awards. The short film competition, split in two categories National (Argentine) and Latin American, is a great opportunity to get an early look at young film directors that may play an important part in the region’s cultural future. Here is a review of this year’s winners with directors from Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.
Víctor Orozco Ramírez – Reality 2.0 – Mexico – Best Latin-American ShortfilmReality 2.0 is a gripping short film somewhere between real-life images and a poetic aquarelle painting. The subject of the film, though, is much darker than the colourful and light tones it beams. Reality 2.0 deals with violence in Mexico, or more precisely with the exhibition of violence in Mexico.
Not only is the North American country one of the most violent on the planet, in the last few years the wars waged by drug cartels, policemen and the army have become ever more gruesome and bloody. No longer satisfied by just eliminating opponents, drug cartels have started a morbid competition as to who can send the strongest and most terrifying message to its enemies. Videos of executions broadcast on youtube and news channels, bodies hanging from motorway bridges, and mass decapitations have become the grim reality of many of Mexico’s cities.
Víctor Orozco Ramírez denounces those shocking images and practices that have become banal in his home. More importantly he does so without falling in the trap of showing the violence himself, by veiling it with the artistic effects of a visually stunning film. A worthy winner of the most prestigious prize for short films at the 27th Mar Del Plata International Film Festival, Ramírez in his acceptance speech, said he hopes the recognition of his work will “help, at least a tiny bit the problems my country is facing.”
Pablo Gonzalo Pérez – Ojos – Argentina – Best Argentine Shortfilm
Ojos consists of one continuous shot of, as its name indicates, two eyes. The film starts as if it were a typical romantic flick: on a stormy night, two eyes stare out at the screen declaiming poetry for a long lost love.
Then the lights switch on.
What follows is a surprising and hilarious dialogue between actor and director on a film set. Their surreal argument had the audience laughing their heads off throughout the six minutes the film lasts.
Thankfully when the director, Pablo Gonzalo Pérez, went on stage to get his award he did so accompanied by the main actor. A fact he had to explain himself, as it wouldn’t be obvious for the crowd to recognise Sebastian Edreira’s eyes. Edreira’s acting is impressive in how much suppressed rage he can actually transmit just with his intensity of his eyes. His acting is even more commendable considering that the final version was filmed in just one continuous take (the 19th take, as producer Jorge Gentile insists).
Seizing the opportunity, Pérez gave what sounded a rather desperate cry for a producer to step forward to cover the costs of a full-length film he has ready to shoot. If his project promises to be as funny and entertaining as this one, not taking a look at the project would seem a glaring business opportunity gone begging.Amir Admoni – Linear – Brazil – Jury’s Prize Latin American Shortfilm
How many people walk past cleaning personnel, construction workers, trash collectors, on the streets or public transport, as if they lived in parallel worlds, cut off from our life and undeserving of the slightest thought? And yet if would they disappear for one day, or just a few hours, we would quickly notice the immense contribution they offer, and how much our society relies on them. Linear is in many ways a tribute to these “invisible” men and women that keep our cities and lives functioning while we seemingly ignore them. A clever animation film detailing a day at work for a road line painter, the Brazilian short film manages to be visually pleasing, at times very funny, and still deliver a social message.