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Berlin's Nuevo Cine Argentino Film Festival
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Berlin's Nuevo Cine Argentino Film Festival

Picture of Claudia Claros
Updated: 10 October 2016
Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s festival on Nuevo Cine Argentino (New Argentinian Film) is kicking off this Wednesday. With free viewings of the movement’s classics, we’re presented with a collection of films that epitomize a complex moment in the countries history, and reflect its variable and unstable progress throughout the last few decades.
Alan Pauls, Curator ©Promo
Alan Pauls, Curator | ©Promo

The Nuevo Cine Argentino cinematic trend, technically the second of its kind after a first wave in the 50s, is a direct byproduct of the socioeconomic situation of the 90s. Like many South American countries, Argentina underwent strict neoliberal structural reforms which imposed market supremacy, reduced the state’s role in the economy, deregulated markets, and over time limited the resources invested in scientific and technological innovation.

These political policies defined the cinematic trend. Lack of funding meant productions were small and entirely independent, created with small budgets and thanks to the work of uncompromising artists. The consequences of the uninterrupted and unabashed neoliberal 90s plunged the country into a violence that transpired in all aspects of life; migration, family, urban violence, decline, and societal collapse. Despite this, the revaluation of the peso simultaneously provided artists with the possibility to look outside Argentina and opened up Argentina’s cultural circles to travel and external publications. The festival therefore explores the individual and collective narratives that are reflected through cinema.

Mundo Grua / Crane World, film still. D: Pablo Trapero, 1999 ©Promo
Mundo Grua / Crane World, film still. D: Pablo Trapero, 1999 | ©Promo

The opening event introduces us to the group of directors and their curator, Alan Paul, in Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s Auditorium. The opening will also include a showing of Lisandro Alonso’s film, Jauja, starring Viggo Mortensen, which depicts a danish engineer and his daughter who travel to Patagonia accompanying an expedition in search of ‘Jauja,’ a place of happiness and prosperity that causes its seekers get lost along the way… The event is free of charge, and after the showing there will be a DJ, food, and wine.

Los Salvajes (The Wild Ones), showing on Thurs 10/09 and Sat 19/09 at 22:00, is the direction debut of screenwriter Alejandro Fadel. The film depicts the lives of a group of five teenagers who, after their escape from a penal institution, live in the wild. The resulting self-organized and spontaneous community borders on the savage and the harmonious, while playing on the philosophical concept of the human and the animal as inherently opposed but also equal in many ways. Presented at Cannes 2012, its aesthetic breaks from the comfort of urban landscapes and presents us with the harsher side of the wilderness.

Los Salvajes, film still. D: Alejandro Fadel, 2012 ©Promo
Los Salvajes, film still. D: Alejandro Fadel, 2012 | ©Promo

Watch out for the film El Estudiante / The Student (showing on Sat 12/09 and Sun 20/09 at 15:00 and 20:00), which depicts the life of a young student as he moves to Buenos Aires to start university, and deals with student life involving activism and politics. It is a coming-of-age story situated in the broader context of Argentina’s political movements. Viola, a film on the border between metaphor, fiction, and reality, explores the idea of the limits of fiction and reality, as the stage folds into the life of the main character. A panel discussion with film directors Albertina Carri, Mariano Llinás, Rodrigo Moreno, and Martín Retjman will be held on Saturday 12/09 at 17:00, discussing the topic What is Cine Nuevo Argentino Now, twenty years later.