Grasshopper Film has announced the U.S. theatrical release of the landmark Argentine film La Flor by Mariano Llinás. The epic 14-hour film, a feat of Latin American cinema, opens August 2 at Film at Lincoln Center, where it will be presented in four parts. Parts one and two will screen August 2-8 and parts three and four will screen August 9-15.
Llinás’ ambitious, wildly entertaining saga—a decade in the making, shot in various countries on three continents, and acted in Spanish, French, Russian, German, Swedish, and English—is a love letter to the history of cinema. A follow-up to his 2008 four-hour cult classic, Extraordinary Stories, La Flor is divided into six episodes, four with no ending, one with a conclusion, and one other with an ending but no beginning. Each of the episodes is different in genre and narrative style, but all starring the same cast of four outstanding actresses: Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa, Pilar Gamboa, and Laura Paredes, recipients of the Best Actress Award at the Buenos Aires Film Festival (BAFICI).
All episodes are interwoven with on-screen appearances by the director himself explaining the film's structure, and filled with subplots and digressions. The first episode is a mock B-movie (“The kind that Americans used to shoot with their eyes closed and now just can’t shoot anymore,” says the filmmaker) about cursed mummies. The second is a musical with a twist; the third, an international espionage thriller; the fourth, a humorous category-defying story partly set in Canada, the fifth episode—the only one with a proper ending—is a remake of a well-known French classic by Jean Renoir. The sixth and final episode takes place in the 19th century and follows the story of an Englishwoman held captive by Native Americans, as described through her diary. And then there are 40 minutes of credits.
A bragging-rights delicacy at the New York, Toronto, and Locarno film festivals and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at BAFICI, La Flor is a feat in storytelling and Herculean achievement that celebrates the vitality of cinema—at a time when many still mourn its death—pushing the art form into new and exciting horizons.