With more than 400 films being shown across the city of Buenos Aires at sites as diverse as an outdoor amphitheater, the planetarium and the city's opera theater, Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de cine Independiente (BAFICI) is set to roll from April 15th through the 25th. Here is an overview of this year's lineup at South America's largest film festival.
Both the opening night film and the closing night film are world premiers of works by Argentine directors, which BAFICI showcases year after year. The opening film is El cielo del Centauro by director Hugo Santiago, who returned to Buenos Aires to shoot forty-three years after collaborating with the immortal Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges on the film Invasión. On closing night, BAFICI will show the first feature-length film by the young Argentine director Mariano Nante, a tribute to female pianists (including the great Marta Argerich), La calle de los pianistas.
The sections in competition (Argentine, International, Avant-Garde and Genre, a section added to the festival in 2013 that brings together more experimental films) are chocked full of great films. The International Competition has eighteen films this year from countries around the world such as Los exiliados románticosby by Jonás Trueba (Spain, 2015); Double Happiness by Elle Raidel (Austria/China, 2014); and La obra del siglo by Carlos M. Quintela (Argentina/Cuba/Germany/Switzerland, 2015).
The Argentine Competition, one of the most popular among the festival goers, has a total of 16 films, including 13 world premiers. The local critics are particularly excited about La princesa de Francia by Matías Piñeiro (Argentina, 2014); Todo el tiempo del mundo by Rosendo Ruiz (Argentina, 2015); and Al centro de la tierra by Daniel Rosenfeld.
For those who enjoy horror, comedy, musicals and any bizarre combinations of the three, this year's Avant-Garde and Genre section includes a mix of films including A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night by Ana Lily Amirpour (USA, 2014); Crumbs by Miguel Llansó (Ethiopia/Spain/Finland, 2015); and Prose Of The Trans-Siberian by David Epiney (Switzerland, 2014).
Besides the films in competition, there are a plethora of other sections to delight viewers. First is the Official Selection (not in competition), eight films that BAFICI programmers wanted to emphasize in the endless list of film options over the ten-day festival. For the youngest viewers, there's BAFICITO (or "Young BAFICI"), where the first Asterix film in 3-D, Astérix et le domaine des dieux, by Alexandre Astier y Louis Clichy (France, 2015) is set to premier. In addition, BAFICITO will treat audiences to a retrospective of cartoon master Chuck Jones.
The Music section includes 17 music documentaries covering everything from cumbia to heavy metal and everything in between. The Argentine Short Films section is always a great chance to get a glimpse at up-and-coming filmmakers, and the Restored Classics section (with a lower ticket price!) lets viewers see their favorite films on the big screen once again; this year's classic treats from world cinema include The Color of Pomegranates by Sergei Parajanov (Armenia, 1969), Blue Velvet by David Lynch (USA, 1986) and Argentina's first feature-length film, Amalia, by Enrique García Velloso (1914).
By far the largest section in BAFICI is the Panorama, with films by directors as diverse as Aleksei Fedorchenko, Roy Andersson, Patricio Guzmán, Fatih Akin, Peter Greenaway, Hong Sang Soo, Asia Argento, Joshua Oppenheimer, Sergei Losnitza, Frederick Wiseman, Lars von Trier, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, and Manoel De Oliveira. There are also two Focuses, one on Weimar Films (1918-1933) that captures this brilliant period in German film, and Peru: A Country's Filmic X-Ray (not the best translation for this section title, but you get the idea).
Every year BAFICI hosts a number of high-profile guests. As France is the guest country this year, BAFICI welcomes Isabelle Huppert, who will give a free talk at the local opera house while the festival screens several films from different points in her career. The French director Pascale Ferran, the subject of a retrospective this year, will also be in town for the event. Other special guests include Luke Fowler, another director selected for a retrospective under the section Britannia Lado B; John Pastorious, the son of bass player Jaco Pastorius, and director Paul Marchand to present the international premier of the documentary Jaco, and Chiara Rapaccini, the last love of Italian director Mario Monicelli, whose works are highlighted in yet another retrospective.
All in all, it promises to be another fantastic year at the BAFICI. The festival's 16th edition brought in a whopping 380,000 spectators last year and if the early ticket sales are any indication, this year could be even bigger. Undoubtedly a great excuse to come down the South American Way!