Three acclaimed Argentine films will be released this summer in the U.S., giving American audiences a chance to see some of the most groundbreaking productions of the South American country. The three films are Benjamín Naishtat’s neo-noir drama Rojo, Mariano Llinás’ 14-hour epic La Flor, and Lucio Castro’s queer and inventive debut feature End of the Century / Fin de siglo.
First at bat is Naishtat’s third feature film, the neo-noir drama Rojo starring Darío Grandinetti (Talk to Her, Wild Tales), Andrea Frigerio, and Alfredo Castro (Pablo Larraín’s The Club, No, and Tony Manero). A timely drama whose historical references hold eerie resonance for our contemporary political moment—suggesting social complicity in the unfolding of far-reaching authoritarian regimes. Rojo, one of the most talked-about films at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival following its world premiere there, opens July 12 at Film at Lincoln Center and the Quad Cinema in New York, and on Friday, July 19 at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles, followed by other cities, by the hand of 1844 Entertainment and Distrib Films US.
Set in Argentina during the Dirty War, on the eve of the nation’s descent into a military dictatorship in the mid-1970s, Rojo follows Claudio, a renowned middle-aged lawyer living a seemingly picture-perfect life in a deceptively peaceful provincial city. One night, a stranger starts insulting Claudio in a restaurant for no apparent reason. The patrons support him; the stranger is humiliated and removed. Later that night, the stranger—determined to wreak a terrible vengeance— intercepts Claudio and his wife, Susana. Claudio then starts to move down a path of no return involving death, secrets, and silences—further complicated by the arrival of a Chilean private detective.
Opening Friday, August 2 at Film at Lincoln Center in New York is Llinás’ La Flor, released by Grasshopper Film. “A decade in the making, La Flor is an unrepeatable labor of love and madness that redefines the concept of binge viewing. The director himself shows up at the start to preview the six episodes that await, each starring the same four remarkable actresses: Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa, Pilar Gamboa, and Laura Paredes. Overflowing with nested subplots and whiplash digressions, La Flor shape-shifts from a B-movie to a musical to a spy thriller to a category-defying metafiction—all of them without endings—to a remake of a very well-known French classic and, finally, to an enigmatic period piece that lacks a beginning (granted, all notions of beginnings and endings become fuzzy after 14 hours). An adventure in scale and duration, La Flor is a wildly entertaining exploration of the possibilities of fiction that lands somewhere close to its outer limits” (Film at Lincoln Center).
Opening August 16 at the IFC Center in New York by the hand of Cinema Guild, End of the Century is Castro’s alluring debut feature, both a sun-soaked European travelogue and an epic, decades-spanning romance. When Ocho, a 30-something Argentine poet on vacation in Barcelona, spots Javi, a Spaniard from Berlin, from the balcony of his Airbnb, the attraction is subtle but persistent. After a missed connection on the beach, a third chance encounter escalates to a seemingly random hookup. But are these two merely beautiful strangers in a foreign city or are they part of each other’s histories—and maybe even their destinies?