5 items from 2016
This was a busy year at Tiff, where I was a juror for Fipresci, helping to award a prize for best premiere in the Discovery section. Not only did this mean that some other films had to take a back burner—sadly, I did not see Eduardo Williams’ The Human Surge—but my writing time was a bit compromised as well. Better late than never? That is for you, Gentle Reader, to decide.Austerlitz (Sergei Loznitsa, Germany)So basic in the telling—a record of several days’ worth of visitors mostly to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienberg, Germany—Austerlitz is a film that in many ways exemplifies the critical theory of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. What is the net effect for humanity when, faced with the drive to remember the unfathomable, we employ the grossly inadequate tools at our disposal?Austerlitz takes its name from W. G. Sebald’s final novel. »
There’s a reason why petits fours are a patisserie staple, and grands fours are not: what’s puffily perfect at bite size can turn cloying in a larger slice. So it proves, in a sense, with “Hermia & Helena,” in which Argentinian writer-director Matias Piñeiro repeats the recipe behind his previous, scarcely feature-length Shakespearean cupcakes (all loosely drawn from the Bard’s comedies), only for the winsomeness to spread itself a little thin across 90 minutes. Riffing very liberally on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — directly invoked here as a text to be translated into Spanish — this tale of a Buenos Aires theater director finding her feet and potentially losing her heart in New York City lopes along with the same idle, chatty charm as Piñeiro’s hour-long “Viola” and “The Princess of France.” But with its tricksy timeline and waifish subplots, the film feels unduly stretched even to reach its modest length, »
- Guy Lodge
Well over a year ago, Vadim Rizov visited the set of Argentinian director Matías Piñeiro’s latest, Hermia & Helena, now premiering in competition in Locarno. He noted that Piñeiro’s first three features have all "started from a Shakespearean source text: As You Like It for Rosalinda, Twelfth Night for Viola, Love’s Labour’s Lost in The Princess of France." The key text this time around is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Not only has Piñeiro set much of the film in New York for the first time, he's added a slew of newcomers to his cast of regulars: Agustina Muñoz, María Villar, Pablo Sigal, Kyle Molzan, Ryan Miyake, Oscar Williams, Mati Diop, Julian Larquier, Keith Poulson, Dan Sallitt, Laura Paredes, Dustin Guy Defa, Gabi Saidón and Romina Paula. We're collecting reviews and interviews. » - David Hudson »
For beginning with a dedication to Setsuko Hara, recently departed muse of Ozu and Naruse, Hermia & Helena — the new film by Viola and The Princess of France director Matías Piñeiro — perhaps aligns us to be especially attuned to the Argentinian auteur’s use of female collaborators. One to already emphasize the charisma and big-screen friendly faces of frequent stars Agustina Munoz and Maria Villar, he still seems to have an ability to make them points of representation, not fetish.
Having, in real life, recently relocated to New York from his home Buenos Aires, Piñeiro can obviously be interpreted as having made some form of autobiography. His avatar in this case, Camilla (Munoz), is in New York on an artistic residency after her friend, Carmen (Villar), did the same, only to slightly disappointing results due to the loneliness and lack of personal change she saw in the city.
The film is »
- Ethan Vestby
Matías Piñeiro on the set of Hermia & HelenaAfter presenting his complete retrospective at Olhar de Cinema in Brazil this past June, I spoke to the Argentine filmmaker about his new film Hermia & Helena a few days before its world premiere as part of the International Competition at the 69th Locarno Film Festival.In Hermia & Helena, Camila, a young Argentine theater director, travels to New York to work on a translation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. With her boyfriend and friends back in Buenos Aires, Camila rethinks old and new relationships. Shot between the two cities, the film is divided into chapters that focus on the different lives Camila experiences, as well as the different people she encounters during her journey.Notebook: Hermia & Helena shares a similar aesthetic with your previous films. At the same time, the overall tone feels much more melancholic now. You have been living »
5 items from 2016
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