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April 18 – April 19, 2015

Rejtman/Piñeiro - Theater, Comedy?, Cinema

A banner year for Argentine cinema, 2014 saw the appearance of long-awaited new films by both Martín Rejtman and Lisandro Alonso, along with the latest featurette by the prolific Matías Piñeiro and the happy announcement that shooting would finally begin on Lucrecia Martel's eagerly anticipated adaptation of Antonio De Benedetto's legendary modernist novel Zama. The occasion also offered a welcome reminder of the singularity of contemporary Argentine cinema and the loose, indeed provocative, family tree that can be traced across these artists’ notably distinct work. A particularly fruitful pairing can be made of the films of Rejtman and Piñeiro, two directors whose films make clear their strong debt to theater and theatrical traditions of performance, with both turning frequently to stage actors to anchor their films within a certain theatrical ideal of literally constricted yet imaginatively expansive space. Both Rejtman and Piñeiro also work within and beyond ideas of cinematic, and theatrical, comedy; Rejtman through his signature deadpan timing and long takes, and Piñeiro through his exuberant and ceaselessly rhythmic looping and interrupted Shakespearean (and Sarmiento) inspired dialogue. These are two artists who also find an abiding inspiration in the subtleties and shadows of language—and in the distinct Argentine Spanish in particular which gives unique color and intensity to their cinema. With this in mind, both Rejtman and Piñeiro offer two texts about each other's work.

The Harvard Film Archive is thrilled to welcome both Martín Rejtman and Matías Piñeiro to present their new films, Two Shots Fired and The Princess of France, and to join us for two evenings of cinema and conversations. – Haden Guest

This ARTS@DRCLAS – HFA film retrospective is co-sponsored by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS). Special thanks: Paola Ibarra DRCLAS

English translations by Haden Guest

 

 


$12 Special Event Tickets
Martín Rejtman and Matías Piñeiro in person

Saturday April 18 at 7pm

Two Shots Fired (Dos disparos)

Directed by Martín Rejtman. With Susana Pampín, Rafael Federman, Benjamin Coelho
Argentina/Chile/Germany/Netherlands 2014, DCP, 105 min. Spanish with English subtitles

The title Two Shots Fired makes me think of the policier genre. But the word “two” is disruptive. I immediately ask myself about the first shot, and in this way the machine of fiction is set into motion.

In the first sequence, a bullet goes astray. A young man shoots himself but does not die. In contrast to many policier stories, Two Shots Fired begins with a non-death. Loud, strident violence gives way to deafening humor. Tones are mixed.

The result is an escape: the main characters travel to the sea. A naked foot presses the accelerator of a car traversing a beach. A singular beauty – almost tactile – of a meeting of the worlds of nature and the body shop. This is a composition.

The result is a drift: that of a dog that brings us back to the scene of a crime. “Destabilize in order to re-stabilize” writes Robert Bresson in his Notes on Cinematography. It would seem that in order to narrate one must overcome an obstacle, choose an alternate route that brings to cinema an experience that is more personal, more abstract.

For more than twenty years, the cinema of Martin has unfolded as a challenge to the main lines of Argentine cinema. Strange and solitary, his trajectory opens a field of possibilities of what the cinema is capable of doing.

If I have been able to make films, it is because of films of Martín Rejtman exist. Tomorrow I start a new shoot. I suppose that when Martin and I meet at the HFA, the anxiety that I feel today will have already been forgotten and I will only feel the happiness of finding myself in his universe, unique and fertile, that has inspired and permitted the existence of so many others. – Matías Piñiero

El título Dos disparos me lleva a pensar en el género policial. Sin embargo, la palabra “dos” se vuelve disruptiva. De forma inmediata, me preguntó por el primer disparo y así la máquina de ficción se pone en marcha. En la primera secuencia, una bala se desvía. Un joven se dispara pero no muere.

Al contrario de muchos relatos policiales, Dos disparos comienza el suyo con un no-muerto. La violencia estridente deviene humor asordinado. Se conjuga un tono.
 
Se produce una fuga: los personajes viajan al mar. Un pie desnudo aprieta el acelerador de un auto que atravieza una playa. Particular belleza -casi táctil- la de los encuentros entre naturaleza y carrocería. Es una composición.

Se produce una deriva: la de un perro que nos devuelve a la escena del crimen. “Desquilibrar para reequilibrar” escribe Robert Bresson en sus “Notas sobre el cinematógrafo”. Pareciera que para poder narrar fuera necesario realizar un desvío, tomar un camino alternativo que haga del cine una experiencia más personal, más abstracta.

Desde hace más de veinte años, la obra de Martín se despliega como un desvío de las líneas generales del cine argentino. Extraña y solitaria, su trayectoria abre un campo de posibilidades de lo que el cine puede ser.

Si he podido hacer películas es porque existen las películas de Martín. Mañana comienzo un nuevo rodaje. Supongo que cuando nos encontremos en HFA, la angustia que hoy siento ya la voy a haber olvidado y solo tendré la alegría de volver a encontrarme con su universo único y fértil que ha inspirado y permitido la existencia de muchos otros. – Matías Piñiero

DCP courtesy of the filmmaker

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$12 Special Event Tickets
Martín Rejtman and Matías Piñeiro in person

Sunday April 19 at 7pm

The Princess of France
(La Princesa de Francia)

Directed by Matías Piñeiro. With Julián Larquier, Agustina Muñoz, María Villar
Argentina 2014, DCP, color, 70 min. Spanish and Italian with English subtitles

Lately I have been traveling so much that I decided to write a text about Matías for the HFA on an airplane bound for Mexico. But airplanes always distract me. I look to see what films are in the airplane video system and, by coincidence, The Princess of France is available. This is the chance to watch the film again. I decide to count all the kisses in the film; I quickly lose track. All the characters are unfaithful, and Matías is also unfaithful to the unique point of view of Shakespeare, of theater. His films seem to be made with the same slightly frenetic spirit, as if he used the scene of the Louvre speed race in Godard’s Bande à Part as a point of departure for his cinema: museums and people running.

One can lose oneself in the plot but there are scenes that reappear to us again and again. One cannot help but think of Howard Hawks: “As long as you make good scenes you have a good picture – it doesn’t matter if it isn’t much of a story.”

All of the scenes in the films of Matías could form part of the same film.

It would be a good exercise to reorder all of the scenes, discover new relationships, intertwine the kisses of The Princess of France with The Stolen Man, use the Schumann music from Viola, for example. But no matter the alternations that one makes I am sure that the result could never be anything other than a film by Matías Piñeiro: the same group of actors rehearsing repeatedly scenes of a play, a great work of theatre that could be Shakespeare but in reality does not exist. – Martín Rejtman

Con tantos viajes me propongo escribir el texto sobre Matías para el HFA en un avión rumbo a Mexico. Pero en los aviones siempre me distraigo. Busco qué hay para ver en el sistema de video a bordo y providencialmente La princesa de Francia está disponible. Es la oportunidad para revisarla. Decido contar los besos que hay en la película; enseguida pierdo la cuenta. Todos los personajes son infieles y Matías tambien es infiel al punto de vista único, a Shakespeare, al teatro. Sus películas parecen hechas con un mismo espíritu un poco frenético, como si usara la escena del recorrido a toda velocidad del Louvre en Bande à Part como el punto de partida de su cine: museos y gente corriendo. 

Uno puede perderse en la trama  pero hay escenas que se nos vuelven a aparecer una y otra vez. No puedo evitar pensar en Howard Hawks: Mientras filmes buenas escenas vas a tener una buena película. No importa tanto la historia.

Todas las escenas de las películas de Matías podrían formar parte de una sola película.

Sería un buen ejercicio reordenar todas sus escenas, encontrar nuevas relaciones, intercalar los besos de La princesa de Francia en El hombre robado, usar la música de Schumann en Viola, por ejemplo. Pero por más alteraciones que uno haga estoy seguro de que el resultado nunca podría ser otra cosa que una película de Matías Piñeiro: el mismo grupo de actores que ensaya escenas de una obra que se repite, una gran obra de teatro que podría ser de Shakespeare pero que en realidad no existe. – Martín Rejtman

DCP courtesy of Cinema Guild

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