The Museum of Modern Art has announced the lineup for the 16th edition of the Doc Fortnight, its annual showcase of recent documentary film. This year’s festival, running February 16–26, 2017, includes an international selection of 20 features and more than 10 short films, including the North American premiere of Solar by Manuel Abrąmovich from Argentina, and the New York Premiere of Las Letras / The Letters by Pablo Chavarría Gutiérrez from Mexico, with both filmmakers in attendance.
Flavio Cabobianco was 10 years old when his messianic message of self-salvation, I Come from the Sun, became a bestseller in Argentina. As Flavio releases a 20th-anniversary edition, first-time feature filmmaker Manuel Abrąmovich follows him and his family in Solar to try to understand the book’s origins and tangled authorship. But Flavio’s escalating attempts to control the film give rise to a compelling tale about the complexities of artistic collaboration.
Las Letras is an exercise in (and exorcism of) outrage, a performative representation of an indigenous Mexican professor’s random arrest and erroneous 13-year imprisonment for a brutal slaying. Gutiérrez’s camera stalks the countryside, ghostlike, observing wandering lost children and a woman’s balletic expression of grief, punctuated by Gómez’s proud, hopeful jailhouse letters to his family.