New Directors / New Films has helped launch the careers of some of today’s best-known directors. Each year, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art team up to bring a line-up of the year’s best films from emerging filmmakers. Pedro Almodóvar, Spike Lee, and Steven Spielberg have all been featured in previous editions.
Now in its 42nd year, ND/NF brings us 4 Latin American films from Argentina and Brazil making their first screenings in New York. It’s refreshing to see a selection of films from these countries that don’t have to retread the familiar ground of the dictatorship or favela life. Not to say films about those subjects aren’t important –but these selections show us the creative diversity in the region’s cinema. All of these directors will be available in person at their screenings, so don’t miss out on the chance to hear more about their work after the films.
Here’s a run down of what’s in store from the Latino front at this year’s ND/NFL.
LEONES – Monday, March 25 at 8.30pm and Wednesday, March 27 at 6.15pm
Director: Jazmín López (Argentina)
Leones is something out of the ordinary. Nowhere near conventional, Jazmín López’s debut film is closer to the mind games that stem from the literary tradition of Argentinean authors like Julio Cortázar and Jorge Luis Borges. A group of young people walks through a forest, directionless, speaking too much while saying too little. There are some tinges of existentialism here, and while it might not be a film for wide audiences it’s definitely a chance to discover an exciting new direction for Argentinean cinema.
THEY’LL COME BACK (ELES VOLTAM) – Tuesday, March 26 at 6.15pm and Wednesday, March 27 at 9pm
Director: Marcelo Lordello (Brazil)
There’s a silent anxiety to Marcelo Lordello’s They’ll Come Back. The title resonates as we watch the 12-year-old heroine wait on a roadside for her parents and brother to come pick her up. They never return and she’s on her own in this subtle, introspective coming- of-age story that avoids clichés. This is the second film from Recife to arrive to ND/NF, after the success of last year’s Neighboring Sounds. The result is a nuanced production that touches on race, class, and social status in contemporary Brazil without resorting on melodrama to drive these points home.
VIOLA – Wednesday, March 27 at 6.30pm and Friday, March 29 at 9 pm.
Director: Matias Piñeiro (Argentina)
Viola introduces us to Matias Piñeiro’s eye for filmmaking and ear for dialogue. The screenplay for Viola is an intertextual gem, following a group of actors as they live their life in between rehearsals of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” “The idea came from reading Shakespeare and finding a mysterious connection between the female characters in his comedies and a group of actresses with whom I’ve been working with and admire,” the director told Remezcla. “By reading the comedies I discovered the strong female roles sometimes neglected or overshadowed by the male tragic or historical characters.” The film doesn’t let itself get bogged down by the pressure of adapting Shakespeare, instead borrowing from the Bard’s text freely as it creates a parallel narrative and creates new and multi-layered female characters. Good things come in threes, Piñeiro has two more similarly themed films up his sleeve: The Princess of France (tackling “Love’s Labour Lost”) and Isabella (“Measure for Measure”).
JARDS – Friday, March 29th at 9pm and Saturday, March 30th at 9pm.
Director: Eryk Rocha (Brazil)
Jards is a documentary focused on the creative process of composer and musician Jards Macalé. It’s not a music documentary in the traditional sense, with the director opting to go on a different direction with the film. “In Brazil there has been a tendency with music documentaries over the last decade to bring in biographical elements, archive and concert footage. Those are films with a beginning, middle, and an end. I decided to take a different approach, depicting the artist’s soul through the creative process instead,” shared director Eryk Rocha. “We focused on Jards’s relationship to music, other musicians, the fine-tuning, repetition, and whole trial-and-error process you find in a recording studio.” If the filmmaker’s last name sounds familiar then you might have heard of Eryk’s father, the highly influential Brazilian film director Glauber Rocha.