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Martin Rejtman on ‘Two Shots Fired’

The founding father of New Argentine Cinema talks about his comeback to big-screen filmmaking

LOCARNO — In a world where man’s best friend finds new amigos – or so it appears – most anything can happen, and sometimes so it seems in quietly absurdist comedy “Two Shots Fired,” the fiction feature comeback of Argentina’s Martin Rejtman, whose 1992 “Rapado,” or so many argue, brought the flag down on the New Argentine Cinema. Rejtman’s first fiction feature since 2004’s “Magic Gloves,” “Two Gun Shots” begins with its titular event as 16-year-old Mariano returns from a club, grabs a sandwich, mows the lawn, discovers a revolver, loads it, puts it to his temple and fires. But he escapes with a graze. The remainder of “Gun Shots” tracks the consequences of Mariano’s action as it ripples play out over his dog Iago (it runs off, never returns), family, friends and even most tangential associates. Backed by blue-chip Latin America and European producers – Argentina’s Ruda Cine, Chile’s Jirafa Films, Germany’s Pandora Film, the Netherland’s Waterland Film and Fortuna Films – “Two Shots Fired” will segue from its world premiere at Locarno to Toronto, where this singular, absurdist study of consequence, which will be see theatrical distribution in Argentina, Chile and Netherlands, screens in World Contemporary Cinema. Variety quizzed Rejtman at Locarno. “Two Shots Fired” went on to Toronto, and San Sebastián and now hits Rio Fest.

“Two Shots Fired” not only questions dogs loyalty but distances itself from trad fiction in the unpredictability of its consequence, inscrutability of characters, lack of character arcs and ambiguity of events, moving much closer to what is really reality…. 

I’m interested in the film functioning like a “narration machine,” where situations flow from one another with a perhaps unconventional cause-effect; but where humor works anchors spectators

You mostly use fixed camera-shots. Why?

The camera can observe, participate, modify. I prefer the first. I’m not interested in underscoring via music, actors’ performance, or camera movement and angles. For me, filming is a way of equaling all the facets of direction.

Nobody would call “Two Gun Shots” a social comedy but it does build a vision of a modern world of substitute families, problematic relationships – almost everybody’s an ex – and a penny-pinched middle-class without money to pay cell-phones, let alone a vacation….

Yes, in almost all my films subvert the idea of the family. In “Two Shots Fired,” there a groups and sub-groups which in some way replace traditional families. In Marianos’ family nobody’s really takes charge. As for the socio-economic details, I think they’re pretty precise. Though I obviously didn’t have the slightest intention of creating a social portrait.

Compared to 2003 Locarno screener “The Magic Gloves,” your last big-screen movie, have distribution possibilities, for better or for worse, changed for your films?

For better or for worse, Internet allows greater access to my films, which means they’re seen less in cinema theaters.

On what are you working now?

Two documentaries and a fiction project.

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