Every once in a while we’re reminded that Argentina isn’t just Buenos Aires. Even more rare are those occasions when we’re reminded that Argentina isn’t just Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata. But thanks to the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (BAFICI)’s Argentine competition, at least once a year film lovers are guaranteed a cinematic glimpse into the world of the Argentine provincia that would trump most Porteños’ knowledge of their own country’s interior. Of this year’s diverse selection of standout films, Cordobés director Fernando Sarquís’ debut feature Miramar is noteworthy for its portrait of a small resort community in the province of Córdoba shaken up by a visit from a mysterious stranger during the chilly off-season.
Sofía works at her family’s hostel in the small beach town of Miramar. On the cusp of adulthood, she receives word she’s been offered a scholarship to attend college in the capital, but must decide between staying close to home with her mother and sick father or leave everything she’s ever known behind to start anew in the big city. As she wrestles with her decision, Javier arrives from the capital in hopes of shedding a mysterious past and starting over himself. Their two destinies cross briefly as an innocent conversation spreads out over several days, deepening as they wrestle with the specter of the past and the possibilities of an uncertain future.
Stylistically Miramar sticks to standard Argentine indie handbook, with cinematographer César Aparicio’s unobtrusive handheld camera taking in the cool natural light of Argentina’s Sierras Chicas foothills. The region’s dreary, gray winter skies are also used to poetic effect as the two protagonists wander about Miramar’s all but empty streets, evoking a sense of eerie abandon. Accompanied by an acoustic rendition of an original song by Javier, the trailer highlights the film’s understated ambitions and intimate sense of drama with naturalistic performances that meditate as much on words as they do on silence.