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“La idea es que nadie se quede afuera”

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I always believe in team work”, says Pablo Conde, flamboyant Artistic Director of the Mar del Plata Film Festival, in the preview of the 37th edition. that programming has its richness and variety”. Conde knows what he talks about: he has been part of the festival’s programming team since 2009. And, in his first command, he seems determined to intensify the heterogeneous view of the cinema that has become a trademark of Mar del Plata. From the visit of director John McTiernan (Die Hard, Depredator), to the tribute to Leonardo Favio ten years after his death, passing through the retrospective of the Japanese director Kinuyo Tanaka, the visit of the French Patricia Mazuy, the focus of british comedies or the production of Nosferatu and other centenary classics that will be musicalized in vivo, this year the festival at the deja rincón del cine without occupy. “La idea es que nadie se quede afuera”, says Conde. “Whatever the spectator, he will always find something that attracts him”.

—The message that this edition seems to convey is that everything is cine…

“You seem silly to describe it, but sometimes it’s okay to remember it. It is an eje that we have been deepening since we started to work as a group more or less since 2009. I remember that in those years it was said that the festival had no profile. It is very graceful to revisit these editions and see that this same search has finally ended being understood, accepted and enjoyed. This idea of ​​being able to have a retrospective of the work of Jim Henson, as if ha ha ha ha, mientras a la par se pasaban european films by great authors who started their careers, or was supported by Argentine filmmakers who received empezaban and then became transformed in round names. That’s how we understand the cine at the festival. In dialogue we are interested in films from different periods, styles, and genres. In that sense, summoning John McTiernan, for example, is summoning a person who transcends the simple moment of making action films.

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—Why McTiernan?

—Bueno, Hard to kill is the modern action film. But, behind this, there is also a director with a very interesting career, with very different films. He is a director who has cinephilia. He has seen another cinema, on North American soil. He understands very well the need to build a personaje, to plant the universe in what he gets into… Go more allá. It has a style, if you want, “artisanal” within the industry, and it has a lot of personality, a little bit in the tradition of other visitors that we have had, such as Joe Dante or John Landis.

—This edition celebrates the trayectorias of Cecilia Roth and Ricardo Darín…

—Maybe at this point they are not necessary, but it seems to me that, in addition to celebrating those careers that form part of our real and cinephile culture, it is good to think about them why this success, this connection with the public. It is not only the summation of good performances that the trayectories of Roth and Darín are remarkable for, but the construction of these cinematographic characters. Las elecciones que hicieron. La idea es alumbrar esos paths. On the other hand, in the focus of trayectories we are also going to pay tribute to the researcher Paula Félix-Didier for her commitment to the preservation of our cine, and the Cine Club Nucleo, which completes 70 years. There they are very explicit for those who move the festival.

—How does the tribute to Leonardo Favio arise?

—If it is 10 years since your departure, we are in a “faviano year”. The truth is that Favio is alive all the time. He is one of the glowing figures of our cine. What we would like to rescue is his figure, on the ground his art. Three of his films were projected, but in addition, there was a work of interviews with people who worked with him, who knew him, and who collected anecdotes of Favio as a person. He is someone who lived his life very intensely, and we want to transmit all his knowledge and skills.

—Why did they include a focus on British comedies?

—The world is wrong, there is no need for me to explain too much about this. It’s wrong, and we need to meet again with the enjoyment of sharing the view. The cinema room as a place of real communication, but there are also common places. And if there is something that is enhanced in the shared experience, es la risa. That’s why we thought that activism from the comedy stage was essential, and we set up a British comedy focus with the support of the embajada, which we called “inoxidable comedies”. The humor is the best way to share a room. But also, taking advantage of the fact that we don’t have the type of restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic in the past year, let’s carry out centenary film projects with live music. There is a lot of exciting activities this year.

—In the books that are going to be edited, the festival also sees the intention of diversity…

“On all sides, yes. This year we are going to publish a book on Videodrome, the film by David Cronenberg, which is divided into three parts: one of analysis and theoretical texts by critics such as Mark Fisher, another of interviews with the director at different times of his career, and another “en primera persona”, in which we summon different artists to whom this film affects them. Obviously we’re going to project Videodrome at the Auditorium: I’m dying to get that moment.

And after, on the other hand, a book of study on the salvage of material from more than 100 years of the Argentine producer and director Renée Oro, which is a total hallazgo. The sea: a book of management, of puesta en valor de una directora, and another to think from different angles of a cult film by a contemporary filmmaker. It’s all there.

—What’s going on with your presentations in the medianoche section, now you’re the Festival Director?

—That was the great plant that hice me when they named me. The “Cero hour” section grew very much over the years. There, they find their place for the most allocated and festival-worthy films, and I present them from a highly relaxed place, with a humor and an ease that doesn’t make me happy.

allow at other times. It was the subject of great internal debate. But the number of people who insisted that the next day it was huge. People who ni siquiera conozco. This is what I always say: the audience of the Mar del Plata Film Festival is the biggest thing ever. So, well, you will be able to understand the most institutional part of the task that these most delirious presentations are also a vital part of the festival.

Godard, a la apertura

The opening film of the 37th edition of the festival will be Sin aliento, the classic of the French new wave directed by Jean-Luc Godard, as a tribute to his recent death. “Godard always left the common place to go more there”, says Conde. “In this sense, there is a very interesting dialogue with the tribute to Favio. Godard understood cinema as a philosophy, as a way of life, as a tool to understand the human race and the artistic expression in its own right”. If this is an experimental drift, in favor of risky and unconventional films, the decision was made to design a more traditional one. “We could have chosen a worse, more radical approach”, says Conde, “but I believe that Sin aliento is one of his most absolute statements, and the experience of living this film in a movie theater will be very enriching for many people” . In addition to Sin aliento, you can also see Godard Seul le Cinéma, by Cyril Leuthy, a documentary about the work of the French director.

“It was inevitable that I was present in the year of death”, says Conde. “But, in addition, it was necessary. Sin aliento riza el rizo y vuelve al principio: filmed many times in the common place, it became exactly in a common place in those lists like ‘best films of all times’. For today’s project, as a trigger to think about Godard’s relationship with the cinema, it is a declaration of principles”.

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