Log # 3

by Lautaro García

The Talents BA experience appears, at least these days, strange to me. After a series of bilingual and rather bureaucratic presentations, I realize that the cosmopolitan – not to say globalized- character will be a constant feature of the festival. Even though we are all Latin Americans, that is, we are only separated by some accents and the number of metro lines in our cities, there is a European atmosphere in the air. Perhaps it is Florian, the German head of Talents, or the Nespresso machine that accompanies us everywhere. It is quite early to tell whether this will become a form of colonization and we will end up at a sort of pitch, but it is something that disturbs me.
This cultural experience can become at times schizophrenic. At an activity called networking we are assigned a table with four other persons and one of us is given the responsibility to moderate the conversation with a subject of our choice. Everything in five minutes. Once over, half of the group leaves and the other half stays. This is how an intense hour goes by, having discussions with members of all areas of the campus, from scriptwriters to actors, from directors of photography to critics (favourite for bullying). The condensed time imposes a fleeting and superficial character to the conversation, though it does not prevent it from having its intense moments. I will transcribe some highlights. I will not give any names due to a question of bad memory, not out of discretion.
-In Colombia, they fired the head of the national film fund because he gave an award to a documentary that had a script.
-We cannot reach an agreement as to whether or not to use non-actors in cinema. Some name Roberto Rossellini, another one mentions a Chilean film called Naomi Campbel, I name José Celestino Campusano, but I realize his films may be difficult to absorb for someone from outside this country.
-At a table, the subject is more romantic and everyone speaks of their lives’ most revolutionary moments. Studying, travelling, moving out alone, having children, producing films. Since I have not done any of these I remain in silence.
-A Brazilian who worked in Carlos Reygadas’ production company says she has been told that all films can be summarized in this tagline: “a character has to do something before he loses everything” which I think is a rewrite of what the most conventional scriptwriting books say.
Another fellow participant, from Colombia, quotes Raul Ruiz’ Poetics of cinema and settles the discussion: “Where is the essence of humanity in films where all the characters have objectives?” Applause, medal and kiss.
I think I come out more confused than when I got there. Some hours later, after showing the A line to the foreign branch of the Talent Press, I also experience a rather schizophrenic situation: a large number of film students and almost the whole audio-visual industry is at a demonstration at the door of the Gaumont cinema, watching out for the possible dismantling of the national film fund, which is the cornerstone of almost all Argentine cinema. And inside, the opening screening of BAFICI. Walking through the protest – which was quite big – I manage to listen to some of the conversations about what films to see tomorrow (for today) at Village Recoleta. Not to mix things up.