'Pain,’ ’Thursday’ ‘Parabellum’ Make BAL’s WIP

Some WIP films will segue to BAL Goes To Cannes, which unspools May on the Croisette

MADRID – Arauco Hernandez’s “The Enemies of Pain,” Andres Novais Oliveira’s “She Comes Back On Thursday” and Lukas Valenta Rinner’s “Parabellum” have been selected for this year’s Work in Progress at the Buenos Aires Lab (BAL), the industry initiative of Argentina’s Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (Bafici) which kicks off today with a gala screening of “The Congress.”

Running April 3-6, BAL’S WIP will feature three other titles that are sure to draw heat – the latest films at rough-cut of Mexico’s Nicolas Pereda, and Argentina’s Luis Ortega and Matias Pineiro.

Extracts from maybe about half the films at BAL’s WIP, an eight-title pix-in-post showcase, will be programmed at the 2nd Bal Goes To Cannes, the Cannes Festival’s first-ever industry showcase, organized by the Cannes Market and BAL. Event’s second edition will unspool on the Croisette during the Festival.

“Pain” marks the awaited directorial debut of Uruguay’s DP-turned-director Arauco Hernandez who has worked with many of the leading lights of last decade’s new Uruguayan cinema: Hernandez served as cinematographer on Adrien Biniez’s “Giant,” Federico Veiroj’s “A Useful Life” and Daniel Hendler’s “Norberto Hardly Late.” It follows three forty-something men, all broken-hearted, two one can short of a six-pack, as they wander through Montevideo’s suburbs.

“She Comes Back on Thursday” is a naturalistic drama about an elderly couple’s separation and its effect on their two sons, from Brazilian Andres Novais Oliveira (picture, “Ghosts,” “About a Month”). As in his prior films, characters are based on real people, much dialogue matter-o-fact, the basic story only slowly emerging.

Tapping into the contempo angst-laden zeitgeist, Lukas Valenta Rinner’s low-fi sci-fi “Parabellum” tracks middle-class Argentines who check into a survival course preparing for the eventual end of the world and re-connect with their more essential – and violent – selves.

BAL’s WIP also features Chilean Barbara Pestan Floras’ village-set “Joselito,” charting a young son’s gradually boiling resentment of his father, after his mother’s death.

Also at WIP, “El desentendido” stars Brazil-born Ailin Salas (“XXY,” “Some Girls”), one of Argentinean cinema’s most-talked up actresses as a young woman discovering love in mourning.

Lead-produced by Edgar San Juan’s Film Tank in Mexico (“The Secret of Their Eyes,” ”Norteado”), Pereda’s “The Absent” turns on an ageing man who loses his house and land, then his mind. Pineiro, whose “Viola” played at Toronto, creates in “The Princess of France” a melange of Shakespeare’s comedy heroines and a highly contempo Argentina.

Playing at Miami’s Encuentros last month, where it had fans, Ortega’s latest, which reps a reported return to form for the director of “Black Box,” turns on the romance between two street-kids.

BAL’s Work in Progress is just part of the Spanish-language attractions at this year’s Bafici. Its International Competition features the Argentine preem of Santiago Palavecino’s Venice player “Some Girls,” a BAL WIP highlight last year, Diego Ayala and Anibal Jofre’s university graduation movie “Kite Adrift,” a favorite at Locarno’s Carte Blanche, and Luis Lopez Carrasco’s 1982 Spain-set “The Future,” portraying Spain’s descent into hedonist consumerism.

There’s a good buzz on “The Gold Bug,” from Alejo Moguillansky and Fia-Stina Sandlund, a film-within-in-a film farce, David Rubio’s prison-set doc “13 Doors,” and feel-good “Korean Song,” from Gustavo Tarrio and Yael Tujsnaider.

Also playing the Argentine competition are “Necrophobia in 3D,” from Argentine contempo genre pioneer Daniel de la Vega, Ines Maria Barrionuevo’s small-village-set two sisters’ coming-of-age drama “Atlantida,” and Matias Lucchessi’s Berlin and Guadalajara winner “Natural Sciences,” both debuts and two of five features at Bafici shot in burgeoning Argentine regional film hub Cordoba.

Retrospectives take in legendary Israeli Uri Zohar and Swiss documentary filmmaker Jean-Stephane Bron (“Cleveland Versus Wall Street”).

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