TO KILL A MAN and HISTORY OF FEAR to New Directors

The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center have just announced the complete lineup for their 43rd annual New Directors/New Films Festival. The 2014 lineup includes the New York premiere of the Chilean film To Kill a Man / Matar a un hombre (pictured below right) by Alejandro Fernández Almendras, and the North American premiere of the Argentinean film History of Film / Historia del miedo by Benjamín Naishtat (pictured left).

New Directors/New Films will also feature three Latin American short films: The Island /La isla by Dominga Sotomayor and Katarzyna Klimkiewicz from Chile, Landscape / Paisaje by Matias Umpierrez from Argentina, and The Reaper / La Parka by Gabriel Serra from Mexico.

Bullying is a phenomenon that doesn’t just take place in the schoolyard. In Fernández Almendras’s raw, unnerving psychological thriller, bullies and their victims live side by side in a working-class neighborhood. Passive Jorge tries to ignore the cruel taunting of some local thugs who would be considered juvenile delinquents if they weren’t full-grown adults. But when the worst of the bunch steals Jorge’s insulin syringe, and his son winds up in the hospital with a gunshot wound after attempting to get it back, Jorge and his wife seek redress legally—to no avail. The family is humiliated again and again, and when his teenage daughter is sexually threatened, Jorge, pushed over the edge, decides to take matters into his own hands.

How strong does a fence need to be, or how loud must an alarm blare, or how brightly should an open field be lit for us to feel safe? The impossibility of a definitive answer to these kinds of questions lies at the heart of Benjamín Naishtat’s unsettling feature debut. Set in an economically destabilized Argentina, the film weaves stories of characters from multiple social strata into an interlocking narrative of paranoia and fear. The isolation of wealth and detachment from neighbors causes insecurities to fester, feeding a “security consumption” culture and all its incumbent paraphernalia. As we begin to recognize and sympathize with the situations depicted, the most troubling realization of all arrives: we are doing it to ourselves.

The 43rd edition of New Directors/New Films, an annual rite of early spring in New York City, bringing exciting discoveries from around the world to adventurous moviegoers, will run March 19 – 30 screening 27 international feature films and 13 short films.