The relevance of comedies in Cine Argentino.
M Kalaw Street, may be the humble opposite of the bustling Shangri-La cinema complex, which has served as the festival venue since its debut in 2015. Greeting the guests are an exhibit of works by Argentine photographers, posters fresh off of Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the statue of Ishmael Bernal with other Filipino film greats, and a table of flowing Argentine wine. Cine Argentino is one of the younger film festivals in the country, the project of a partnership between the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the Embassy of the Argentine Republic.
Its fourth iteration, which is ongoing until Sept. 10, also welcomes Joseacute Neacutestor Ureta, Argentine Ambassador to the Philippines who arrived in Manila last July.
"I think the Philippines is the main bridge between Argentina in particular and Latin America in general, and the Southeast Asian countries," says Ambassador Ureta. "We are very similar in many aspects.
" After last year's focus on the beloved Latin American sport, football, the current festival aimed for a more intimate and relatable theme of relationships. Opening the fest last Sept.
6 was Me Case? con un Boludo, which translates to "I Married a Dumbass." "With that name," quips Ureta, "it can only be an Argentine film.
" Flavio Chomnalez, Ramiro Guillermo M'cann While local moviegoers anticipate Marvel blockbusters and other action-packed flicks, Ureta notes that soaps and comedies remain the potent nesting ground of collective values, heritage, and beliefs. The films this year present a peculiar cast of characters that would likely never meet if not for the curious imaginations of their screenwriters and directors.
Rival robbers become attracted to each other as they plot to steal a Bordeaux Malbec (Vino para Robar) a multimillionaire in a wheelchair develops a deep friendship with his therapeutic assistant (Inseparables) and an aging singer believes himself to be the reincarnation of Elvis (El Ultimo Elvis). Argentine Ambassador to the Philippines Joseacute Neacutestor Ureta (fifth from left) with Mariza Arciniega de Lozano, Adriana Tomas, Flavio Chomnalez, Maria Jose Insua, Sergio Salas, and Victor H.
Echeverri. "Cinema is a very vital instrument not only for our knowledge of people, but also (to strengthen our) international relations," says Ambassador Joseacute Neacutestor Ureta.
In Me Case? con un Boludo, an actress marries a well-known actor and discovers he's far from the charming character he played onset. In a gesture that's both endearing and ridiculous, her husband commissions a writer to feed him scripts and lives out his own fiction to save his marriage.
"Isn't it so familiar in Filipino films?" says FDCP chairperson and CEO Liza Dintildeo. "A romantic comedy that celebrates love despite differences .
a matter well explored in our own culture." Facundo Dardo Herrera and Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson and CEO Liza Dintildeo.
"The richness, diversity, and authenticityof Argentine culture hasalways been reflected in their cinema. It's amazing to see the similarity of a lot of the Argentine films with our own Filipino films," says Dintildeo.
Dintildeo shares that film festivals such as these offer alternatives to the usual Hollywood fare in commercial theaters, and showcase cultures that we can identify with our own. "Argentine culture is so similar to the Philippines, and even the sensibilities," says Dintildeo.
"If you've seen Argentine films, they're pretty much like the stories that we showcase here in the country." Instead of the cinema within a mall, the embassy has chosen the more intimate venue of the Cinematheque Center Manila.
It has hosted filmmaking workshops and discussions on Philippine cinema, and it is also the home of the FDCP. Josef Laurens Ijzermans, Jose Miguel Capdevila "It's amazing to find ambassadors who really champion film as a way to bridge each other's culture," says Dintildeo.
Apart from Cine Latino which will gather different films from the Latin American region by the end of the year, as well as a music-themed Cine Argentino in its next run, Dintildeo intimates that there are other exciting projects in the pipeline. In an exchange program, local filmmakers will be hosted in Argentina, immersing them in the Argentine film industry, while Argentine filmmakers will in the same way be hosted here.
"I am looking at more local filmmakers participating in the Buenos Aires film festival, and hopefully bringing Argentine filmmakers to the Philippines. They can get to know our local filmmakers, and participate in film festivals like Cinemalaya and Q Cinema," says Dintildeo.
With this, it may not be long until Argentinians sit in their own micro-theaters and see themselves in the equally peculiar characters of Filipino films.