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MAP: New Buenos Aires filmmakers stretch boundaries

Last Updated: August 23, 2011

Buenos Aires | Photo credit: Reuters Newcomers are revitalizing Argentine cinema, moving beyond the neo-realist titles and social dramas that were hailed internationally a decade ago — like Pablo Trapero's El Bonaerense or Lisandro Alonso's Los Muertos — to push the boundaries of traditional storytelling. Inspired by a dynamic wave coming largely out of Buenos Aires, the Toronto International Film Festival chose to spotlight the Argentine capital for its 2011 City to City program.

Thanks to a national film body — Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales, or INCAA — that offers retroactive funding to filmmakers after a movie's completion, "there's a sort of perpetual motion machine going" in the industry, as well as an "almost pathological optimism to go ahead and get things made," explained Kate Lawrie Van de Ven, the TIFF programmer dedicated to City to City.

"A lot of the filmmakers have a very rock 'n' roll, indie, this-is-the-story-I-wanted-to-make, I'll-see-what- people-think-of-it-once-I've-made-it kind of mentality," she told CBC News. "It's a cinema of strong personalities."

During a visit to the South American metropolis in April, Lawrie Van de Ven and TIFF co-director Cameron Bailey found themselves in the midst of diverse, informed filmmakers who "had a good set of eyes on what everyone else was doing and supported it, even if it's not to [his or her own] taste."

Perhaps because of this, word quickly spread that the TIFF ambassadors were in town. Lawrie Van de Ven and Bailey were inundated with screeners from an enthusiastic community eager to spread the word about new Argentine cinema to the world.

"DVDs would be slipped under hotel doors. I was staying at an apartment, and every day the custodian would have a new bag of screeners for me that had been dropped off. I literally had to leave behind pairs of shoes because I had so many screeners to fit into my suitcase," Lawrie Van de Ven said, laughing.

The resulting 10-film City to City slate — which includes two archival titles — provides a taste of the varied, ambitious and striking cinema being created in and about Buenos Aires. The features present a sensibility that's "a little more brash, a little more punky" than movies from the past, with many of the new offerings tied to a specific corner of the "big, sprawling patchwork of a city," she noted.

Lawrie Van de Ven shares some tidbits about each film in the map below.

Click on the markers to read more about the films and their settings and locations within Buenos Aires. Use the navigation in the map's top left to zoom in and see in-depth satellite images of the city.

The City to City: Buenos Aires titles will screen during the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs Sept. 8-18. Organizers will also host a panel entitled Buenos Aires – A Conversation, a gathering of visiting Argentine filmmakers and urban culture experts offered free to the public, at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sept. 13.

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