july - september 2004 focus on film 12  

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6th Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (BAFICI)
by Juliana Fortini

A festival, chaos and many numbers

The 6th Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (BAFICI) was chaotic and, according to the theory of chaos, life is governed by numbers. The events at the BAFICI could be described the following way: held from April 14 to 25 for 12 consecutive days, 10 movie theaters, 323 movies from all over the world, 130 thousand people, 41 million photograms, 16 competing movies, 48 cafes and 24 fast food restaurants, 250 cubic centimeters of eye drops. Day 1 of the festival started with expectations at 100 percent and they were reached on day 12 with only 50 percent of satisfaction.
The late-coming autumn can be blamed for the rains and sudden drops in temperature, but this season cannot be held accountable for the inconveniences caused by the poorly organized BAFICI, which was held mainly in the movie theaters of the Abasto mall. Long lines to get tickets, questions unanswered, movies that arrived late and others that never did, inaccurate translators, inexcusable tardiness were some of the causes of arguments, quarrels and annoyances at the Festival.
But the stories, images, sound, and silences, in short, the movies themselves overcame these difficulties and offered the best and the latest of international independent films.
This year·s schedule presented an integrated official competition, as always, for 16 first or second movies from a variety of places. The two Argentine films were Parapalos, by Ana Poliak, and Whisky Romeo Zulu, a film about the LAPA airplane accident that took place few years ago at the City Airport, Enrique Piñeyro·s first movie (actor and producer of Garage Olimpo). The rest of the movies in the official competition were mainly from Europe (eight in all, two of which were from France), one from the United States and four from Asia. The Peruvian film Días de Santiago was the third Latin American entry.
In addition to the official competition, there were three parallel competitions. The most important of these was “The newest of the new”, the already traditional showcase for Argentine films. There was also a competition for local short films and one for films dealing with human rights, organized jointly with Human Rights Watch. Of the retrospectives devoted to different filmmakers the most outstanding were by Eduardo de Gregorio from Argentina (who lives in France); by Jonas Mekas, father of independent films, from the United States; by Glauber Rocha; by Raúl Ruiz from Chile; by Kiyoshi Kurosawa from Japan and a curious review of films by John Ford.
During the final days of the festival and with teary eyes because it was the end of independent films for this year (or from seeing so many movies in so few days) the official awards were given: Parapalos won for best picture, Aristón Tan was chosen best director for Fifteen, and the special award given by the jury went to the Spanish movie Las horas del día, one of the most commented and discussed movies in the competition.
In spite of the poor organization, moviegoers had once again the chance to experience excitement, be entertained, get angry, feel pity and dream with the stories projected on the screens of Buenos Aires.


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