From Teen Vampires to Road Trips: SF IndieFest Brings Movies From Brazil & Argentina to the Bay

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The 19th San Francisco Indie Fest kicked off on February 2nd, bringing the American indie scene to the foggy California city. In between featuring local talent and hosting a Princess Bride Bingo night, the fest will be screening two coming-of-age Latin American films taking on social and economic inequality. Cine+Mas is co-presenting Gabriel Nicoli’s 2001: mientras Kubrick estaba en el espacio (2001: While Kubrick was in Space) from Argentina and Anita Rocha da Silveira’s Mate-me por favor (Kill Me Please) from Brazil.

Far from offering us the hi-tech world that director Stanley Kubrick imagined in his sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Argentine director Nicoli plunges audiences instead in the 2001 that his country lived through as it suffered through the worst financial crisis in its history. Following three teenage friends who decide to embark on a road trip (on a stolen pink car!) to take part in a paper plane world championship, this debut feature looks like an Y tu mamá también for a new generation. And just as Cuarón’s classic film, 2001 is perhaps best when it captures that feeling when you’re not quite an adult where you feel like everything might yet still be possible, even as the world is all too ready to tell you otherwise.

2001: While Kubrick was in Space screens February 11 and February 12.

But if you’re looking for something, shall we say, bloodier, da Silveira’s Kill Me Please is probably more up your alley. Set in Barra da Tijuca in Rio, this teen drama centers on Bia. She is coming into her own in a neighborhood that’s being rocked by a string of murders whose victims are teen girls that look just like her. In between party sequences that look like music videos, schoolgirl conversations that turn from giggly to disturbing, and a terrifying encounter with one of the girls left for dead, da Silveira uses Bia to give her film enough jolts to unsettle you throughout. This is no simple coming of age tale, nor quite the horror film its title suggests. It’s somehow both, examining sexual mores and economic anxiety in a modern-day Brazil. Like Nicoli’s film, this one is not to be missed.

Kill Me Please screens on February 12 and February 16.

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival runs February 2-16, 2017.