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Argentine silent films

London's very first Argentine Film Festival finished last night at the Ritzy Brixton (officially the comfiest cinema in London) with Medianeras. But before that came a selection of Argentina's early films - and it certainly was a curious line-up.


The newsreel film Revisa Valle (1926) was first, a standard current affairs round-up, full of riverboats and German dignitaries. While the comings and goings of the rich and famous - not to mention their fox-hunts - were intriguing enough, the movie worked primarily because of the live guitarist, whose mellifluous strumming gave events some much-needed colour.

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Caprichosos de San Telmo review (Argentine Film Festival London)
Director: Alison Murray
Cast: Gabriel Acevedo, Hector Roterio, Sergio Pasquin
Showtimes

"If I'm down, I just go and dance - and everything is alright."


That's Gabriela, a dancer in the Caprichosos de San Telmo, a troupe of dancers in Buenos Aires' San Telmo district. Dressed up in top hats, spangly jackets and vivid dresses, every year the group gather to parade down the street amid a cacophony of drums and cymbals. British/Canadian director Alison Murray follows their preparations for 12 months in this colourful, enchanting documentary.

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British/Canadian director Alison Murray talks about the reaction in Argentina to her dance documentary, Caprichosos de San Telmo. (A full review of her colourful, captivating movie is here.)

 

 

For more on London's Argentine Film Festival, see the official site - or read our Argentine Film Festival reviews. Alternatively, check out our list of 5 films you should see at Argentine Film Festival London.


 

 
Las Acacias Pablo Giorgelli film review
Director: Pablo Giorgelli
Cast: Hebe Duarte, German De Silva
Showtimes

You know those long awkward car journeys you use to have as a kid in a foreigner’s car, crossing the border from Paraguay to Argentina? Las Acacias is one of those. At 90 minutes, it’s a slow-paced road trip, but one that soon finds it own charming gear.


Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) is heading to Buenos Aires to see her family. Reluctantly, Ruben (German De Silva) agrees to give her a lift as a favour to his boss – and then finds out that she has a baby too.

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Ricardo Darin, Chinese Take-away
Director: Sebastián Borensztein
Cast: Ricardo Darin
Showtimes

Ricardo Darin. Everyone's favourite stubbly grumpus. Whether ambulance chasing or digging up old Argentine secrets, his grizzled anti-heroes are impossible to hate. Here, his brings his charming chin bristles to hardware shop owner, Roberto. A lonely, cynical fellow, he spends his days cutting out bizarre deaths from newspapers and obsessively counting nails in boxes - and, of course, being grumpy.


Then Jun is thrown into his lap. Literally, from a taxi. The Chinese boy has nowhere to stay and no one to help him - unless he finally manages to track down his uncle. Despite not speaking a word of Chinese, Roberto reluctantly takes him home.


What follows is a classic case of crossed wires and whimsy. He can't understand him. Neither can the other guy. So they both sit there in silence making big hand gestures. It's like the Colin Firth bit in Love Actually - but with more facial hair.

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Medianeras (Sidewalls) - Argentine Film Festival review
Director: Gustavo Taretto
Cast: Javier Drolas, Pilar López de Ayala, Inés Efron
Showtimes

"If I can’t find someone when I know who I’m looking for, how can I find someone when I don’t know who I’m looking for?” That’s the question Mariana (López de Ayala) asks herself as she pores over Where’s Wally? books in her apartment. Four years out of a failed relationship, she spends most of her days hunting out a stripy man with a stick and dog - to no success.


Eight floors down, Martin (Drolas) is equally glum. An architect with a maudlin streak, he spends his days looking out of his tiny window and fretting about the state of the world.


Lonely, eccentric and only metres apart, they’re a perfect match. But although they’re stacked next to each other in shoebox apartments, they have no hope of ever meeting. And that’s the inspired move by Medianeras: the use of location to define the story.

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Argentine Film Festival London - logo

While everyone gets excited about Sundance London at the end of April and Cannes starting in May, people seem to have overlooked something exciting happening this week. This Thursday, you can witness a little piece of festival-going history because it marks the launch of London's very first Argentine Film Festival.


It's called, quite ingeniously, Argentine Film Festival London. And over four days it introduces the UK capital to eight new films straight from South America. And anyone who caught Carancho this year (still showing at Odeon Panton Street - go watch it) or saw The Secret in their Eyes in 2010 will know that Argentina is producing some flipping brilliant bits of cinema right now.


What you might not know is that it also has its fair share of silent movies too. And Argentine Film Festival London gives you a chance to discover those (at their UK premiere) as well as bask in the grizzled brilliance of Ricardo Darin, not to mention enjoy a ton of live tango and free glasses of Malbec wine.


The festival kicks off on Thursday night with comedy Chinese Take-Away (which sold a million cinema tickets in Argentina) and finishes on Sunday evening with a Woody Allen-inspired romance. And if that wasn't enough, it takes place at The Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton - a flipping brilliant cinema.


So to recap, that's a flipping brilliant cinema showing some flipping brilliant films from a flipping brilliant country. What's not to like?


Of course, we'll be there during the whole thing, reviewing, drinking and swooning over Ricardo Darin, so come along and say hi. We'll also bring you our picks of the programme in the next few days - you can read on now to see the whole line-up.


Argentine Film Festival London runs from Thursday 19th April to Sunday 22nd April. For more information, go to the festival's official website. To book tickets, head straight on over to the Ritzy Brixton.

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Carancho - film review
Director: Pablo Trapero
Cast: Ricardo Darín, Martina Gusman, Carlos Weber
Certificate: 15
UK DVD Release Date: Monday 26th March 

8,000 car crashes happen in Argentina every year. By the end of Carancho, you’ll feel like you’ve been in one of them. This gritty South American noir about an affair between an ambulance chaser and an ambulance driver hits you hard. It’s like being smacked in the side of the face by a truck. A truck full of awesome.


If the film didn’t have you at “South American noir” (and it should have), then its brutal blend of romance and violence will knock some sense into you. Sosa (Darin) is a carancho – a vulture who spends his life convincing traffic collision victims to pay his dodgy law firm to sue for damages and hog all the profits. He’s not a nice guy.


Luján (Gusman), meanwhile, is a kind-hearted doctor who’s lonely and wears glasses. Yes, she’s addicted to anaesthetic but she also loathes ambulance chasers and corrupt officials. And she wears glasses. And she’s incredibly sexy. In short, she’s the second greatest paramedic of all time – right after Josh off Casualty.

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Las Acacias Pablo Giorgelli film review
Director: Pablo Giorgelli
Cast: Hebe Duarte, German De Silva
Certificate: 12A

You know those long awkward car journeys you use to have as a kid in a foreigner’s car, crossing the border from Paraguay to Argentina? Las Acacias is one of those. At 90 minutes, it’s a slow-paced road trip, but one that soon finds it own charming gear.


Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) is heading to Buenos Aires to see her family. Reluctantly, Ruben (German De Silva) agrees to give her a lift as a favour to his boss – and then finds out that she has a baby too.

Read more...  

It won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars last year, and now it might win Best Film. Yes, The Secret in Their Eyes is getting a remake.


Warner Bros. have pounced on the Argentinian thriller (which was rather incredible) and plan to bring it to English audiences with the help of director Billy Ray. The Secret in Their Eyes told the tale of determined lawman Benjamin Esposito, who was obsessed with solving a brutal rape and murder from 25 years ago. Ray wrote and directed Shattered Glass and co-wrote State of Play's script, so he's not a bad fit for the slow-paced thriller.


But the most reassuring thing? Original director Juan Jose Campanella is on board as an executive producer. Although whether the whole endeavour is pointless will once again be up for debate.

 

 
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