Sunday, February 19, 2012

DesideriuM - A festival favorite

Life gets in the way. It would be wonderful to have the luxury of watching three full-length feature films, reading two expansive novels à la Bolaño’s 2666 or Fuentes’ Terra Nostra and listening to the latest epic Of Montreal record with headphones from start to finish…all in one week, but it’s not going to happen. And I’m okay with that because after all, I am a very happy family guy. 
Given my fairly hectic schedule, I have become quite addicted to anthologies. This year I have plowed through several excellent short-story collections including Los que se alejan (Albatros), Cuentos chilenos de ciencia ficción (Norma), Voces -30 (Patagonia), Granta’s Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists (Granta) , McSweeney’s quarterly and tons of other amazing (virtual & paper) publications.  Along those same lines, I have also developed a passionate appreciation for short films, ‘los cortometrajes.’  These truncated moving pictures and websites dedicated to them abound online.  I am especially fond of the following sites:
“Diez minutos” is one of the most celebrated short films from Spain, winning the Goya in 2004 and many other prizes.  Now, thanks in part to the folks at Vista Higher Learning (who include the corto as part of their supplemental package for the Revista textbook), advanced high school and intermediate college students all over the US are debating whether or not one should skirt certain rules (depending on the context) and…in my classes, for some reason the discussion also centered on the burning question, “Is Enrique a total creeper or what?”

My favorite short film in recent memory, el corto más logrado, in my humble opinion, is an Argentine production entitled “DesideriuM.”  Juan Cruz Castells, the director of the film, has been busy getting his passport stamped as his short has made its way from Buenos Aires to New York, London, San Sebastián de Veracruz and Galicia. “DesideriuM” has been an Official Selection in each of these film festivals. So what is it about?  The most important and universal themes of course…love, lust, desengaño and death are all brilliantly represented.  But what really grips me about the film is the oneiric feeling that is evoked throughout the work.  It’s a beautiful and surreal trip!
Here’s the trailer…

I almost forgot to mention the music…from the unmistakably porteño soundtrack of the first part (the sultry tango) to the 70’s moog fest (Claude Denjean eat your heart out!) of the end of the film, this is pretty great!!
PS By the way, I was kidding about Terra Nostra…no one should ever have to read that.
                                   Here I am with Juan Cruz Castells.  (Buenos Aires, 2011) 

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