july - september 2004 focus on film 12  

19th Mar del Plata International Film Festival
by Juliana Fotini

The stars were the movies themselves

The sea in the background, the beach crowded with people hungry for a little relax as if it were the middle of summer, young film students, filmmakers, reporters, actors, retired people; all came together for the same purpose: to see the movies participating in the 19th Mar del Plata International Film Festival.
For ten years, over 150 movies from all over the world have been screened. The box offices, always flanked by long lines of moviegoers, were sold out from very early in the morning. The public endured the noon heat, the cool evenings, even the rain in order to see new films and other films by seasoned directors as Fernando Birri, Sergio Renan, Hector Olivera and Ken Russel.
And, as Miguel Pereira, president of the festival, says it was not necessary to bring big stars, because the stars were the movies themselves. The films were divided into different sections including: Women and Film, An Introspective Look, Close to the Darkness and, of course, official sections in and out of competition.
With puffy eyes after so many hours of watching images projected on a screen, the audience, the press, guests and filmmakers enjoyed interesting movies such as Il cuore altrove and long and compelling movies like Dealer. There were also new and interesting Argentine movies such as Buena Vida Delivery, which received the highest award of the festival and Un abrazo partido (winner of the Gold Bear in Berlin).
Also present were seasoned filmmakers such as Bob Raffelson, director of The mailman calls twice and Blood and Wine, Fernando ´Pino´ Solanas, who presented his latest documentary titled "Memorias del saqueo" (Memories of the looting) and the tenderness of Fernando Birri, who presented a complete retrospective of his work at the festival..
Between each movie, the public was able to enjoy the perennial aroma of the ocean air in Mar del Plata, but especially a festival that did not have many surprises, with a slightly improved organization, not much glamour but with the seventh art projected on every screen in the city.


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