From 13th-24th April the city festival dedicated to the third art will bring more than 400 films to 27 different locations across Buenos Aires. With free open-air screenings in park, a long list of shorts and features from across the world, and a list of new venues in some of the city’s outlying neighbourhoods, and English-language subtitles on all Spanish-language screenings, there’s something for everyone at the festival.
Started back in 1999 with what now appears a modest lineup of some 150 films, BAFICI has grown into a mature film festival and celebrates its 18th edition this year. While the Village Recoleta continues to be the main venue for the festival, a total of 27 locations across the city will be screening films as part of the festival. Besides the venues that have become classics in the festival like the Planetarium, MALBA, Village Caballito, and the Parque Centenario amphitheatre, this year the festival has reaching out to neighbourhood venues and cultural centres, expanding the reach of BAFICI to neighbourhoods like Mataderos, Nueva Pompeya, and Chacarita. As it has for the past three editions, the Centro Cultural Recoleta will be the festival headquarters, with presentations, talks, and exhibits at Galería BAFICI.
The BAFICI is always a chance to catch up on some of the most exciting contemporary filmmakers from around the world, and this year’s edition is no exception. It’s a great opportunity to see the latest by directors like Sang-soo Hong (Right Now, Wrong Then), Jerzy Skolimowski (11 minutes), Pere Portabella (Informe general II. El nuevo rapto de Europa), Marco Bellocchio (Sangue del mio sangue), Terence Davies (Sunset Song), Avi Mograbi (Between Fences), Radu Muntean (One Floor Below), Aleksandr Sokurov (Francofonia), Júlio Bressane (Garoto Kid), and Arturo Ripstein (La calle de la amargura).
Besides the usual competitions – Argentine, International, Avant-Garde & Genre, Human Rights and Argentine Short Film – a new section had been added to this year’s festival, exclusively dedicated to Latin American film. The new BAFICI director, Javier Porta-Fouz, has decided to again divide the Panorama section into smaller sub-sections to help guide audience in what is often an overwhelming list of titles and names: this year’s eclectic themes in Panorama range from Late Night to Architecture, Coming of Age to Eat & Drink. BAFICITO is back with an impressive lineup of films for the young and young-at-heart, and the Buenos Aires Lab (BAL) gives directors the chance to show previews of what they’re working on an the audiences the chance to watch and give them feedback.
Focuses and Homages highlight Argentine classic actress Graciela Borges, who will return to the big screen in Leonardo Favio’s monumental ‘El Dependiente’, and local director Fabián Bielinsky (Nueve Reinas), along with international greats like Peter Bogdanovich and Rick Alverson, two of the guests that will be in town for the festivities. This edition includes a long list of Asian films hailing from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea, with a focus on action films; like ‘The Virgin Psychics’ (Sono Sion), ‘The Bodyguard’ by actor and director Yue Song (another guest at the festival), and ‘When Geek Meets Serial Killer’ (Eric Cheung).
Over one hundred of the films in this year’s festival are made in Argentina, not just in the Argentine short and feature film competitions but across the board. While there are some veterans like Raúl Perrone (Hierba) and Santiago Giralt (Primavera) presenting films in the Argentine competition, there is also an impressive list of young filmmakers presenting their first feature. Two to look out for include Melisa Liebenthal (Las Lindas) and Manuel Abramovich (Solar). For foreigners interested in seeing local film on the big screen but frustrated by their linguistic limitations, BAFICI is a great opportunity, since all the films have English subtitles.
The festival kicked off last night at Cine Gaumont with the opening film ‘Le fils de Joseph’ (Eugène Green) and ends on Sunday 24th at Teatro Gran Rivadavia with ‘Miles Ahead’ (Don Cheadle). In between, there are ten days where you can take advantage of all this diverse festival has to offer across the city. Tickets are $35 ($25 for students) and can be purchased at Artemultiplex Belgrano, El Cultural San Martín, Espacio INCAA Cine Gaumont, Malba Cine, Village Caballito and Village Recoleta, or online at here.
Check back in to the Indy for reviews and other happenings during the festival!
Lead image ‘Girl Asleep’, courtesy of BAFICI