Acclaimed Argentinean filmmaker Gastón Solnicki will have the world premiere of his debut fiction film Kékszakállú this September at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in the Orizzonti competition, followed by the North American premiere in the Wavelengths section at the Toronto Film Festival, and its U.S. premiere at the newly created Explorations section at the 54th New York Film Festival.
Kékszakállú is a singularity: a playful portrait of spiritual lethargy. A portrait of several young women at the threshold of adulthood, feeling their way through various crises born of the insular comforts of class privilege. Comprised of moments that seem to have been drawn from memory, with an elliptical continuity that moves according to forms, colors, sounds, and states of being. The torpor of boredom and leisure is undercut by the vicissitudes of Argentina’s economic malaise, forcing the offspring of a vanishing upper class to extricate themselves from the grip of familial privilege.
True to Solnicki’s non-fiction roots, and with a painterly mise-en-scène, the film presents a documentary-like exposure of the quotidian while extending possibilities for redemption among this brood of the weary. There is no protagonist in Kékszakállú, but several young women blanketed under layers of sunlit lassitude and politely tamped down discomfort. Nevertheless, this is a joyful experience, moving inexorably toward liberation.
Partly inspired by Béla Bartók’s sole opera Bluebeard’s Castle (vivid passages are heard throughout the film), Kékszakállú radically transposes the portent of Bluebeard’s Castle into something far less recognizable: a tale of generational inertia, situated between the alternating and precisely rendered tableaux of work and repose in Buenos Aires and Punta del Este.
Following on his critically praised documentary features Süden (2008) and Papirosen (2011), which had successful runs at international film festivals such as Locarno, Rotterdam, Viennale, FIDMarseille, and BAFICI, Kékszakállú solidifies Solnicki’s emergence a as a major new talent.