During the month of August Filmatique presents Visions from the South of the World, a collection of stunning works from prominent filmmakers working in the southern hemisphere.
Shedding light on the closely-guarded ritual of ukwaluka, John Trengove's feature debut Inxeba (The Wound) disassembles predominant notions of male sexuality in contemporary South Africa, while Taika Waititi's second film Boy chronicles a young boy's own grappling with identity in New Zealand's often-overlooked Maori community. Matías Piñeiro's Hermia & Helena, a loose adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, traces a young Argentine woman's experience at an artists' residency in New York; celebrated Argentine auteur Lisandro Alonso's Liverpool delves into the texture of time, following a merchant sailor en route to his hometown in Tierra del Fuego. The Pearl Button, political documentarian Patricio Guzmán's follow-up to Nostalgia for the Light, casts its view earthward, toward Chile's aqueous landscape as a vessel for intricacies of trauma and remembrance.
Showcasing top talents from Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa—and featuring emerging voices alongside established directors—Filmatique's Visions from the South of the World Series journeys into indigenous communities and paths of becoming, challenging hegemonic cinematic representations of desire, masculinity, history, and time.
Hermia & Helena, Matías Piñeiro / Argentina-USA, 2016
Camila, a young Argentine theater director, has been recently selected to participate in an artist residency in New York. Leaving her boyfriend and loved ones behind, she travels to the big city, hoping to mount a Spanish version of A Midsummer Night's Dream onstage. Yet soon Camila finds herself distracted by memories of Buenos Aires, a fling with the residency's administrator, and a strange epistolary relationship with Danièle, a recent graduate of the program. Across languages and continents, and immersed in the ever-conflating realms of life and art, Camila discovers new resonances in Shakespeare's formulations of friendship, affection, and love.
Blending the whimsy of youth with the jocular cadences of theatrical text, Hermia & Helena weaves an ever-expanding web of relations entangling a young woman as she comes into her own. Matías Piñeiro's fourth feature film premiered at Locarno, IndieLisboa, Rotterdam, Mar del Plata, New York and Toronto, and is a New York Times Critics' Pick.
Inxeba (The Wound), John Trengove / South Africa-Germany-Netherlands-France, 2017
Each year in the mountains of South Africa's Eastern Cape, young men belonging to the Xhosa tribe embark on a rite of passage. Away from their families they will become men, subject to a secretive circumcision ritual and weeks of recovery, community-building, and feats of physical endurance. As a city boy from Johannesburg Kwanda does not belong to this world, having been sent by his father to toughen up. He is assigned to Xolani, a solitary and taciturn veteran of the ritual now serving as a caretaker, but soon recognizes something of his own desire between Xolani and another guide.
Navigating the dynamics of queer identity within a hyper-masculine realm, Inxeba (The Wound) casts an inquiring lens onto normative notions of sexuality, race, and class in present-day South Africa. John Trengove's feature film debut premiered at Sundance, Berlin, Göteborg, Thessaloniki, New Directors/New Films, Vancouver; Palm Springs, where it won Best Actor in a Foreign Language Film; Queer Lisboa, where it won the Audience Award; Taipei, where it won the Grand Prize in the International New Talent Competition; and Mumbai, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. Inxeba (The Wound) was submitted as the South African entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, where it made the December shortlist.
The Pearl Button, Patricio Guzmán / Chile-Spain-France-Switzerland, 2014
Suspended between the Pacific and the Andes, Chile is a landscape of contradictions. Despite 2,760 miles of coastline it is not considered a sea-faring nation—colonizers made sure to erase not only Chile's indigenous peoples, but also their connection to these waters. Yet water persists as a repository of memory, reflecting the dazzling plenitude of the cosmos above, the secrets of human civilizations below. As the final resting place of more than 10,000 political prisoners, the voices of Pinochet's desaparecidos murmur from beneath the water's surface.
Navigating Chile's colonial and political histories vis-à-vis its expansive waterways, The Pearl Button charts the labyrinths of individual and collective memory, summoning our role in their making. Acclaimed Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán's companion piece to Nostalgia for the Light premiered at Toronto, BFI London, San Sebastián, Doclisboa; Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, where it won the Mayor's Prize; Philadelphia, where it won Best Documentary Feature; Bergen, where it won an Honorable Mention; and Berlin, where it won a Silver Bear for Best Script and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. The Pearl Button also won the Lumière Award for Best Documentary, and is a New York Times Critics' Pick.
Liverpool, Lisandro Alonso / Argentina-France-Netherlands-Germany-Spain, 2008
Farrel has been at sea for years. Steeped in the quotidian routines of life on a merchant ship, one day Farrel requests to disembark. His goal is to visit his ailing mother in Ushuaia. Equipped solely with a backpack and a bottle of vodka, Farrel embarks across the snow-laden landscapes of Tierra del Fuego—once home, his mother doesn't remember who he is. While other locals treat him with hostility, a young girl named Analia takes a liking to Farrel, evoking a wider web of personal histories than originally conceived.
A hypnotic portrait of solitude, isolation, and rhythms of the natural world, Liverpool immerses the spectator in an enhanced sensorial realm—through decelerated presentations of cinematic time, the smallest of details become imbued with meaning. Lisandro Alonso's fourth film premiered at Cannes' Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Göteborg, Toronto, CPH:PIX and Gijón, where it won the Grand Prix.
Boy, Taika Waititi / New Zealand, 2010
Summer, 1984. Eleven-year-old Boy lives with his grandmother and younger brother Rocky in Waihau Bay on New Zealand's eastern coast. Up to all sorts of antics and borderline-obsessed with Michael Jackson, Boy becomes the head of his household one day when his grandmother leaves town for a funeral. But soon his long-absent father rolls back into town, digging up the yard in search of a pile of cash he buried years prior. Adventure and excitement of Dad's return give way to disappointment, and Boy is left to grapple with the blissful state of childhood ignorance he will soon leave behind.
Playful and exuberant like its young protagonist, Boy teases forth notions of marginality, masculinity, and adulthood in New Zealand's Maori society. Taika Waititi's second feature film premiered at Sundance, Stockholm, Istanbul; Berlin, where it won the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Grand Prix; AFI, where it won the Audience Award; Melbourne, where it won Most Popular Feature Film; Taipei, where it won a Special Mention; and Sydney, where it won the Audience Award.