Getting Lost in BAFICI 2014: The Beautiful Trudge Back Home


April is my favorite month, man. I realize my birthday is April 11th and picking your birth-month as your favorite month of the year is predictable and boring, but it’s not about that. See, I don’t like getting older. I don’t like being reminded that I’m getting older. I don’t enjoy having to continuously re-evaluate my station in life every 365 days, reflect on successes and failures, project new goals and deliverables, and make a bunch of false promises to myself. That’s what New Years Eve is for. And yet, every April 11th, that’s exactly what I find myself doing. Again.

Yes, April is my favorite month, but it’s not because of my birthday. It’s because every April I get to participate in the chaotic, unpredictable, sometimes terrifying but always exhilarating celebration of cinema known as the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente— which is a mouthful, so it will henceforth¬†be referred to as BAFICI). Each year, hundreds of movies from all around the globe are showcased in this rich and eclectic festival. It features all kinds of styles, approaches, tones and genres– from side-splitting comedies to arduously paced dramas to outright bizarre, inexplicable experiments. There’s a wealth of treasures to be found, some garbage to be scoured¬†through, and a lot of fun to be had in the process.

I am never quite as creatively charged, never as genuinely excited to sit down and just¬†make stuff, as I am immediately after a festival screening. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true; I get a weird high from the whole festival scene. I leave inspired and empowered, aching to vent, ready for the challenge¬†of the blank canvas. That creative boost is enormously beneficial and stays with me for weeks. It dissipates after a while, sure, like every high, but you have something to show for it. It’s gotten to the point where I cherish these walks back home after a film almost as much as I do the film itself. This is especially true about the last screening of the day, when it’s late at night and I’m making my way through lonely¬†streets which would be bustling with activity in the daytime. I soak up the silence; in my every day life, I’d be hooked up to my iPod. Each year during the festival, I leave it at home.

Juno Temple in Jill Soloway’s “Afternoon Delight”

Because of the sheer vastness of the festival, I’m not able to watch every single film. Hot tickets can sell out in a manner of minutes, and I end up missing out on some movies I really want to see. I usually figure¬†out some sort of itinerary that¬†fits my work schedule and allows me to watch around 30 movies. I realize thirty movies in ten days sounds obnoxiously ambitious, but the sheer excess is part of the appeal for me– jumping from screening to screening, navigating in and out of diegeses, submitting to a new film experience¬†while you haven’t quite finished processing the previous one. It’s an exercise in endurance, yes, but it’s also a thrill in of itself, akin to that weird feeling you get after you’ve stayed up for over 48 hours with no sleep.

So I pick my movies based on what works for my schedule, which means sometimes I’ll walk into the theater without knowing a lot about what I’m about to watch. As you can imagine, this leads to some interesting experiences– I once suffered through an experimental Italian film about a bunch of people just hanging around naked for two hours (not nearly as enticing as it sounds). This year, the lineup includes new movies by Jim Jarmusch, Hong Sang-soo, Lav Diaz and¬†Denis C√īt√© among others. The films I’m most looking forward to are probably 20000 Days On Earth, Mistaken For Strangers¬†(the documentary that’s sort of about The National), Afternoon Delight¬†and¬†Fifi Howls from Happiness.¬†The films I’m most bummed out to be¬†missing are Rebecca Ziotowski’s¬†Grand Central, Kelly Reichardt’s¬†Night Moves and Gabe Klinger, James Benning & Richard Linklater’s¬†Double Play.¬†Also, for some bizarre reason,¬†The Muppets: Most Wanted is playing as part of the festival, which is odd because 1) it’s not an independent film (what with it being MADE BY DISNEY and all), and 2) it opens properly in Argentina in a month.

Anyway. I’m just psyched, man. This is gonna be fun. And sure, I may kind of resent the fact that I have to turn a year older, but at least I’ll be spending my birthday doing what makes me happy. That feels like a pretty sizable victory to me.

Below is my festival lineup for this year’s BAFICI.

Thursday April 3
Planta Madre
20000 Days on Earth

Friday April 4
Kathleen Hanna: The Punk Singer
Mujeres Con Pelotas
Tres D
Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie

Saturday April 5
Afternoon Delight
The Image Revolution
Who Took Johnny
Kumiko the Treasure Hunter
Dear Mr. Watterson

Sunday April 6
How to Disappear Completely
Gente En Sitios
The Wait

Monday April 7
Mistaken for Strangers

Tuesday April 8
Un chateau en Italie
Algunas Chicas

Wednesday April 9
Buenos Aires Rap
Sarah prefere la course

Thursday April 10
That’s Sexploitation!

Friday April 11
Rohmer in Paris
The Muppets: Most Wanted
Fifi Howls from Happiness
Of Horses and Men
Arctic Monkeys: Live at the Apollo

Saturday April 12
Tonight and the People
Ice Poison
Ma maman est en Amérique, elle a rencontré Buffalo Bill
Burroughs: The Movie

Sunday April 13
Stella Cadente
Only Lovers Left Alive

4 thoughts on “Getting Lost in BAFICI 2014: The Beautiful Trudge Back Home

  1. I wish I had the energy to attend a festival like that. Right now I can’t even muster the will to go to a regular movie theater. I admire your enthusiasm and look forward to your reviews.

    1. Hey man. It doesn’t require a whole lot of energy– it’s just a lot of sitting around. It’s fun, though. The reviews will be trickling in slowly. I already posted the first batch. More to come soon.

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