Argentina has been in the news lately—mainly because it’s the birthplace of newly installed Pope Francis.
Before the Holy Father, however, Argentina was famous for its former First Lady Eva Peron, portrayed by Madonna in the big-screen musical “Evita.”
But there’s more to this South American country than pop-culture notoriety and current prominence in world headlines.
The rich diversity of Argentina is evident in its cinema, said Federico Navia, cultural affairs counselor of the Embassy of Argentina in Manila. To allow Filipinos to get acquainted with the country’s cinema and culture, the embassy and the Instituto de Cervantes are presenting the Argentine Film Month.
Five acclaimed and award-winning Argentinean films will be screened weekly at the institute. “These are the latest award-winners, first released in 2011 and 2012,” Navia told the Inquirer.
The screenings begin today, 7 p.m., with Ana Piterbarg’s “Todos Tenemos un Plan (Everybody Has a Plan),” which top-bills Hollywood actor Viggo Mortensen, renowned for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
“Few people know that Viggo spent the first 10 years of his life in Argentina,” said Navia. “He speaks perfect Argentine Spanish. ‘Todos Tenemos’ is his first Spanish language film.”
It’s about a man who, bored with city life, assumes the identity of his dead twin and moves to the mystifying Tigre Delta. The thriller won special mention for director Piterbarg at the Miami International Film Festival this year.
Showing on April 6 is Gustavo Taretto’s “Medianeras (Sidewalls).” This urban drama about neighbors who find common ground in alienation won the audience award, plus best director and best film in the Latin section of the Gramado Film Festival in 2011. It received nominations from the Argentinean Film Critics Association and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina.
Marcos Carnevale’s “Viudas (Widows)” premieres on April 13. This modern take on the lives and loves of the bourgeoisie centers on a documentarian who is forced to take care of her late husband’s mistress. Nominated at Argentina’s Academy Awards, “Viudas” is considered a tour de force for star Graciela Borges, known to fans as ‘La Gra.’”
Debuting on April 20 is Armando Bo’s “El Ultimo Elvis (The Last Elvis).” One of the most celebrated films in contemporary Argentinean cinema, this music-filled drama competed in Sundance and won the Horizons award at the San Sebastian fest and six trophies from Argentina’s Academy Awards.
Also a winner of major prizes at the London East End, Tolouse and Jecheon fests, this film focuses on an Elvis Presley impersonator who undergoes a midlife crisis.
Ariel Rotter’s “El Otro (The Other),” another award-winning film, will be screened on April 27. This drama film won best actor (for Julio Chavez) and jury prize at the Berlin fest in 2007. It also won at the Fribourg, Lima Latin, Lleida Latin-American, Gijon and Havana fests. This star vehicle for screen luminary Chavez revolves around a businessman who rediscovers a new life after stealing the identity of a passenger who died in a bus accident.
Saturday screenings are for free and set at 2 p.m., at the auditorium of the Instituto Cervantes, 855 TM Kalaw, Ermita, Manila. For details, call 526-1482 or visit: http://manila.cervantes.es