International Film Festival of Viña: what would Aldo say?

Viña del Mar’s International film fest kicks off this week with free screenings and high expectations. “We want a massive audience” says artistic director Edgar Doll, and they have gone to great lengths to bring in a wide range of films to the “Garden City”. Showcasing Chilean films, Brazilian classics, a Pablo Trapero retrospective, International features and a short film competition, the festival is under the artistic direction of Valparaiso University.

So... what would Aldo say about all this?

"La gallina que burlo el sistema", Brazil,  Quico Meirelles
"La gallina que burlo el sistema", Brazil, Quico Meirelles

Aldo Francia was a medic and pediatrician. Born in 1923, he fell in love with the magic of movies and then film-making. His vision, a Latin-American film industry true to its own identity, was shared with many in the early sixties. Although, Aldo died in 1996 in Viña del Mar, his Chilean cinema legacy remains. He’s considered a pioneer of Chilean modern cinema, a co-founder of the first Chilean film magazine, and was part of starting the first film legislation and the country’s first film festival-- in Viña del Mar. Today, 45 years later, he would be proud.

"La Rabia" by Albertina Carri, Argentina (2008)
"La Rabia" by Albertina Carri, Argentina (2008)

Viña del Mar’s International Film Fest (FICVI) is doing things extraordinarily well. They have a wide range of South American films including a Chilean film showcase with an excellent local repertoire. Pablo Trapero and Albertina Carri’s retrospective will showcase ten feature films. Brazilian film-making veteran, Geraldo Sarno is represented with films like Viramundo and El Ultimo Romance de Balzac, (The Last Romance of Balzac). As the festival's invited guest, every day a Brazilian classic will be screened, including Glauber Rocha’s God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun.

Edgar Doll explained another gamble the festival took-- to allow both documentaries and fiction feature films to compete in the same category. Why? “We were trying to think of film beyond particular genres,” Edgar stated. Jurying over 100 applicants for only ten competition spots, it seems film makers are responding to a new paradigm in film making- Creative Nonfiction, which intertwines fiction and fact. Latin American cinema has a long history of using fiction to depict reality. Aldo Francia’s own Valparaiso Mi Amor from1969, (Valparaiso, My Love), used non-professional actors and real settings. So, who can tell when reality ends and fiction begins?

 "Valparaiso mi amor" Viña festival's founder Aldo Francia's first film
"Valparaiso mi amor" Viña festival's founder Aldo Francia's first film

Eduardo Coutinho said in 1967: “With Viña del Mar the seed of the Latin American film community's dream was planted.” Forty-five years later this continent is thriving with new stories, technologies, ideas and formats. FICVI does well bringing films together, focusing on quality, diversity and “new cinema.” Recent films like Pastorela and Gimme the Power are premiering here in Chile. Additionally, there’s two off-screen competitions directed at strengthening local industry: 'Work in Progress' and 'Training and Networks'.

So what would Aldo say? He’d tell you to visit this beautiful city on the oceanside and not miss the opportunity to see some of the best of Latin American cinema, free of charge. There’s plenty to do already in Viña del Mar and neighbouring Valparaiso, but film always spices things up.

Festival Internacional de Cine Viña del Mar, 19th to 24th november.
More info here and it’s full schedule and venues here

 "“God and the devil in the land of the sun”, Glauber Rocha
"“God and the devil in the land of the sun”, Glauber Rocha

Recommended Features
- “El Bonaerense”, de Pablo trapero (2002), Argentina
- “La Rabia”, de Albertina Carri (2008), Argentina
-"No fundo nem tudo é memória" (Al final ni todo es memoria) de Carlos Segundo?Documental, Brasil (2012) 75 '
- “Gatica el Mono”, Leonardo Favio (1993)
-"Gimme the power" de Olallo Rubio, Documental, México (2012) 101'-
-"Pastorela" de Emilio Portes, Ficción, México (2012) 90’

Recommended Shorts
-"A Galinha que Burlou o Sistema" (La gallina que burló al sistema) de Quico Meirelles Ficción, Brasil (2012) 15'
-"El 10" de Carlos Leiva, Ficción, Chile (2011) 22'
-"O Fim do Filme (El final de la película)" de André Dib, Ficción, Brasil (2012)15'
"Luminaris" de Juan Pablo Zaramella, Ficción, Argentina (2011) 6´

Bonus! How the festival started in one paragraph:

“This festival, a result of the incredible tenacity of a handful of lunatics (indeed more sane than us), who started a Film Club, with little 8mm films and hot debates, who built a screening room, organized a national film festival and, if this weren’t enough, got it in their heads to do it international... the first Latin-American film festival”.
Jorge Araya, film-maker, 1967

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